TO THE SANHEDRIN
Jesus—I trust You, even when I can’t see You. Guide me today.
Read Acts 22:30—23:11
30 The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews. So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.
23 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”
4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”
5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’”
6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)
9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.
11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhere does your strength come from to be a witness for Christ?
Have you ever been caught between the hammer and anvil—between two opposing parties? Paul was caught between a Tribune and the Sanhedrin, and between the Sadducees and the Pharisees… hammers and anvils everywhere! But while the Tribune stewed and the Sanhedrin argued, God was at work: through the Tribune, God protected Paul and teed up another strategic opportunity to “solemnly testify,” this time at the heart of the Empire in Rome.
Paul’s certainty as to the mission Jesus had given him surely gave him confidence, even in such chaos. But so did the experience of the Lord’s presence alongside him—“Take courage,” was the risen Jesus’ charge to Paul (11) when he appeared to him the following night. We may not have had visitations from the risen Christ, but we have the alongside presence of his Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) who gives us courage and strength. Jesus Christ never fails to encourage us when we need it the most—it is the hallmark of his character.
Do you need God to “show up” in your situation? Choose a promise from God’s Word to hold onto today as you wait on the Lord.
Lord, whenever chaos multiplies, You remind us that You are with us! Thank You for standing with us amid chaos.