We are now going to read Acts 23:1-15. I know Acts is long, but I really encourage you all to not grow weary in going through this. Keep going!!
v1 Paul believes that he is not guilty of what he is being accused of – his conscience is clear.
v2 Ananias did not accept what Paul was saying. This was inappropriate behavior for a member of the Sanhedrin – let alone the high priest
v3 A whitewashed wall looks good on the outside but it doesn’t change the condition of the wall inside. Outwardly Ananias looked good but inwardly he was corrupt.
v5 Usually the high priest would have been easily identifiable, but this man was far removed from even giving the appearance of a high priest.
- Paul quoted from Ex 22-28. By quoting the law as part of his apology Paul shows he had no desire to violate the Torah – the very thing he is being accused of at this gathering. This is another sure indication that Paul is being falsely accused.
v6 Paul understood that because he had spoken unkindly to the high priest things were going against him in this discussion. Paul therefore shifts the attention of the crowd toward each other. Paul drove a wedge between the two groups causing them to temporarily become divided in their opinion toward Paul, causing some in the Sanhedrin (the Pharisees – in the minority but very emotional and vocal) to side with Paul.
v8 The Sadducees did not believe in a G-d actively involved in His creation. They believed G-d created and then stepped aside. They didn’t believe in an afterlife and saw the world as very secular. The Pharisees believed in everlasting life as well as that G-d had activity and influence in the world.
v9 The Pharisees believed in angels and people getting revelation from G-d. This was completely against what the Sadducees believed.
v10 The word used for taking (snatching) Paul away from a dangerous situation is the same word as the one used for being raptured.
v11 Very reminiscent of what G-d told Joshua in Josh 1:6-9
- Any influence on the Roman empire was an influence felt worldwide.
v12 This implies that if these men didn’t fulfil the oath then a curse would be on them.
- Paul was speaking truth and the enemy hates truth and wanted to move against Paul.
v13 The number 40 (as already discussed elsewhere) has to do with a transition or change. (wilderness for 40 yrs, Yeshua in desert for 40 days etc). There is now a transition away from Jerusalem and a moving into the nations.
v14 This plot, by implication, was known and supported by the leaders. This demonstrates how corrupt the leadership in Jerusalem had gotten. They had embraced the tradition of the elders (oral law, Jewish myths and fables) and had moved away from the Word of G-d (Matt 15:6)
- The Sanhedrin under the Roman empire could put a Jew to death, but they weren’t allowed to kill a Roman citizen. These people were taking matters into their own hands.
v15 When we take things into our own hands and violate Biblical principles, rather than waiting for the righteous judgement of G-d to be demonstrated, we show a total and absolute lack of faith. This is what these men were demonstrating