New Testament Stories My Daddy Told Me
PAUL BEFORE THE COUNCIL (Acts 23:1-10)
By Wayne S. Walker
By way of quick review, when the apostle Paul had ended his third preaching trip, he went to Jerusalem. While he was in the temple, a group of Jews from Asia erroneously thought that he was defiling the temple by bringing a Gentile into it, and a riot broke out during which some of them tried to kill him. The Roman commander rescued Paul and allowed him to speak to the people, hoping to find the reason for the uproar. After Paul recounted his conversion and said that he was sent to preach to the Gentiles, the people once again started mobbing the apostle so that the commander had to rescue him once more. Still not knowing why this man, whom he now learned was a Roman citizen and thus protected by law from beating or even imprisonment without a trial, was accused by the Jews, the commander brought him to the Jewish council.
The Jewish council or Sanhedrin was a group of seventy men made up of the chief priests and the leaders of various Jewish religious-political sects such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees, patterned after the seventy elders selected to assist Moses during the Israelites’ wanderings in the wilderness. When given the opportunity to speak, Paul said that he had lived in all good conscience before God until that day. The High Priest Ananias ordered the guards to strike Paul on the mouth. Paul responded by calling him a whitewashed sepulcher, but when he was told that it was the High Priest whom he was reviling, he apologized for his outburst which he evidently felt showed disrespect.
However, Paul knew that he would not receive any justice from this group of prejudiced men, and perceiving that part of the council were Sadducees and part were Pharisees, Paul cried out that the reason he was on trial was because of his hope for the resurrection from the dead. The Sadducees taught that there are no angels, spirits, or resurrection from the dead, while the Pharisees believed in these things. So a division arose among the council members, and the scribes from the Pharisees’ party said that they could find no evil in Paul’s teaching. In fact, the dissension became so great that the commander feared that there would be still another riot, so he sent his soldiers to wrench Paul from their hands and take him back to the barracks.
- When he ended his third preaching trip, to what city did Paul go?
- What happened when some Jews from Asia saw Paul in the temple?
- Who had to come and rescue Paul?
- Before what group was Paul taken to find out why he was accused by the Jews?
- Who ordered the guards to strike Paul on the mouth?
- What did Paul call this man?
- What did the Sadducees teach?
- What did the Pharisees believe?
- Why did Paul say he was on trial?
- What happened when Paul said this?