Shrewd Paul

Acts 22:30–23:10 (NKJV)

30 The next day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them. 1 Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” 2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”
4 And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?”
5 Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’ ”

Acts 22:30 – 23:5

The commander was curious as to the reason the Jews were so hostile toward Paul, so he brought him before their leadership the next day. Paul began to defend himself, and the high priest had him struck on the mouth. Paul asked why he was struck when he had done nothing wrong. The others identified the man as the high priest, and Paul apologized for speaking against him, a ruler of the people.

6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”
7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. 8 For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. 9 Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.”
10 Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.

Acts 23:6 – 10

At this point, seeing no positive end to the discussion before the Sandedrin Council, he defended himself by pointing out that he believed in a bodily resurrection, which half the council did not believe, and that he felt he was being judged because of that belief. There was an immediate debate and dispute among the council, and the sect of the Pharisees, of which Paul was a member, defended him. Because of the ruckus between the two groups, the commander had Paul removed and brought back to the barracks.

It appears by this and many other moves, Paul was an intelligent and strategic man. These abilities helped him as he evangelized Asia Minor and Greece, and were helping him now as he was accused by the Jewish leadership. God gave Paul the exact set of abilities and skills needed for the task at hand. All of his experiences and his education had prepared him for this moment in time, and he took full advantage of the toolbox with which God had equipped him. God has been preparing you as well, and there will come a time and a season in your life when you box of tools will be just what you need to make a difference. Don’t sit back, reticent, and miss an opportunity. Use what you have for the purpose to which God is calling you, and you will succeed. God is with you. He saw this day in your future long before you were born. Live in it and bring Him glory in it!

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