It has been told that when John Huss was burned at the stake as a heretic, a poor widow brought a small piece of wood to the officiating priest with the request it be put on the pile, right close to the stake. John Huss said to her, “Woman, what have I done to you that make … More
Chapter 23 opens with Paul standing before the Sanhedrin presenting his case. Gazing earnestly at the council (Sanhedrin), he told them he had lived before God, doing his duty with a perfectly good conscience until this very day, as a citizen, a true and loyal Jew (v. 1). He had already done this before the common people, and now he was appearing before the religious leaders. It is hard to imagine this but Ananias, who was an unscrupulous high priest, issued an order that Paul be slapped across the mouth to forcibly silence him (v. 2). Paul’s temper flared and he protested with a sharp retort, as he turned to the high priest and said, “You whitewashed wall! God will hit you. You sit there to judge me by the Law of Moses. But you order men to break the Law by hitting me” (v. 3).
However he retracted his statement when he was informed that it was the high priest against whom he had spoken (v. 4). In fact, he quoted Exodus 22:28 as his reason for doing so. It is not known for sure why Paul did not recognize him, but perhaps it was because of his poor eyesight. It is also possible that Ananias, who was extremely wealthy and very influential, was not at this specially called meeting dressed in his official robes. Paul paid his respects to the position, if not to the person. His example could be noted by people today who in our society, think nothing of slandering people in office because they happen to disagree with their policies. We need to remember that God always holds government officials with respect, and we should do the same (v. 5).
See here the character of an honest man. He sets God before him, and lives as in his sight. He makes conscience of what he says and does, and, according to the best of his knowledge, he keeps from whatever is evil, and cleaves to what is good. He is conscientious in all his words and conduct.
This points out to me how important it is for Christians to respect God’s law? It also points out how important it is for me to obey the laws of our land and to respect government officials.
And looking intently at the council, Paul said, "Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day." And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?" Those who stood by said, "Would you revile God's high priest?" And Paul said, "I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'"
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Acts 20:1-6Discipleship Despite Difficulties
Acts 20:7-12When, Where, How & How Long to Worship
Acts 20:13-21Paul–An Example of Faithfulness
Acts 20:22-24Paul’s Determination To Go To Jerusalem
Acts 20:25-31Paul’s Warning to the Ephesian Elders
Acts 20:32-38Paul Shares About Giving
Acts 21:1-9Paul Warned By the Christians
Acts 21:10-16Paul’s Determination & Warning from Agabus
Acts 21:17-26Compromise Recommended but Refuted
Acts 21:27-36Disaster is the End Result of Compromise
Acts 21:37-40Boldness At the Barracks
Acts 22:1-5Paul Defense of His Heritage and Ministry
Acts 22:6-16Paul’s Salvation Testimony
Acts 22:17-21The Jewish Crowd’s Prejudice Against Gentiles
Acts 22:22-30Paul–A Roman Citizen
Acts 23:1-5Respect is Always Appropriate
Acts 23:6-11Comfort In Times of Trial
Acts 23:12-22A Plot to Kill Paul
Acts 23:23-35God’s Timing is Very Evident to Paul
Acts 24:1-9Paul’s Response vs. Reaction to Charges
Acts 24:10-21Paul’s Defense Before Felix
Acts 24:22-27Concern from Paul’s Friends & Foes
Acts 25:1-7Paul’s Roman Trial–Festus Hears False Accusations
Acts 25:8-12Paul’s Appeal to Caesar’s Roman Courtroom
Acts 25:13-22Festus Consults Agrippa for a Second Opinion
Acts 25:23-27Paul’s Opportunity to Face Agrippa & Company
Acts 26:1-11Paul to Agrippa–Honesty is the Best Policy
Acts 26:12-23Paul’s Purpose Changed to God’s Purpose
Acts 26:24-32God’s Truth Brings Conviction to Agippa’s Heart