Proverbial Hand Grenade

Acts 23
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; [a]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.

What. Just. Happened?

So Paul knowing his crowd was divided in beliefs throws a proverbial hand grenade…

There is such a glaring difference between when Jesus was arrested and on trial and how Paul is reacting. Jesus said almost nothing. Paul has stirred the crowd at least three times already. Anybody have thoughts about this?

Some thoughts I found online:

As he said this, there occurred a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. (Acts 23:7-8 NASB)
Suddenly the focus of the court shifted from Paul to the chief doctrinal differences that were being debated between the two schools of belief:

And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” (Acts 23:9 NASB)
The Pharisees found themselves in a most interesting position; they found that they had more in common with Paul than they did with the Sadducees. And so a number of the Pharisees had to acknowledge, at least in principle, that what Paul claimed and taught was, by their own system of belief, believable.

The debate resulted in a partial verdict. Some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party said, “We find nothing wrong with this man”

And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks. (Acts 23:10 NASB)

Paul didn’t know who Ananias was?

Acts 23:1 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.’ ”

How could Paul not recognize the high priest? Here is a good breakdown.

Yeah, and he tells us that Ananias, the high priest, had been deposed. I don’t remember the details of why he had been put out of office, but for some impropriety. His successor had been murdered. Now Ananias had unlawfully taken the post again of high priest! Now you understand what Paul is saying. “Oh, high priest? I didn’t realize he was the high priest. This guy is the high priest, is he? Really?” I love Paul! “God will smite you, you whited wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law and command me to be smitten contrary to the law?” Paul knew his rights under the law. Well you couldn’t have put that in many years later. This is . . .

On a side note, it seems like Paul is very much stirring the pot here. If you look at how Jesus acted when arrested, this is a total 180. Paul is talking back and creating a commotion.
Not sure what I make of this yet.

The End of Chapter 22

Acts 22
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.

So after ALL that has transpired, Paul is about to have a sit down with the chief priests so that the Romans can find out why the Jews want Paul dead.

So Paul was warned not to go. Prophets warned it would be nothing but bondage if Paul went. Paul by his own words said the Lord sent him to the gentiles because the Jews would not receive him.

Paul is in it to win it now. So let us see how this progresses. No matter what happens the Lord can bring about success as long as we love Him, and serve Him.

Was the crowd persuaded ?

Acts 22
22 And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!” 23 Then, as they cried out and [c]tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him. 25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?”

26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.”

27 Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”

He said, “Yes.”

28 The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.”

And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.”

29 Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.

I guess reminding the Jews that he stood watch while they were persecuted was not the best idea. It almost seems like Paul’s speech in this instance did nothing. The Word does not say anyone was ministered to, or that a seed was planted. It only says they wanted to kill Paul even more.

Matthew Henry Commentary:

The Jews listened to Paul’s account of his conversion, but the mention of his being sent to the Gentiles, was so contrary to all their national prejudices, that they would hear no more. Their frantic conduct astonished the Roman officer, who supposed that Paul must have committed some great crime.

Paul Speaks Pt. 3

Acts 22
12 “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13 came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. 15 For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

17 “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance 18 and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ 19 So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. 20 And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting [b]to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’ ”

I find it rather interesting that Paul is imprisoned trying to minister to the Jews, when the Lord sent him far away from the Jews in the beginning because he KNEW this would happen.
So did the Lord NOT want Paul imprisoned in the beginning?
I will stand by my earlier thoughts, I don’t believe going to prison is always the will of God. I believe if Paul had stayed, he would have been in prison a WHOLE lot quicker and his ministry would have suffered.

What changed that Paul believes the Jews will hear his testimony now, because so far he has been met with much hostility.
I guess I will continue reading tomorrow :)

Paul Speaks Pt. 2

Paul, as wise as he is, could have defended himself. Paul could have said “I am not trying to abolish Jewish customs!” Paul could have said a number of things, instead, he chose to give his testimony.
The Lord wants us to share our testimony. The story from where you were BEFORE you met God and how amazing it has been after!
Instead of using this platform for himself, Paul is going to point to Christ and the impact the Lord has had.

Acts 22
6 “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 8 So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’

9 “And those who were with me indeed saw the light [a]and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. 10 So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.

Paul Speaks Pt. 1

I am going to try to break down Paul’s speech to the crowd so it is easier to digest.

Acts 22
22 “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.” 2 And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent.

Then he said: 3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, 5 as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.

So hearing Paul speak in their own language bought him a little respect.
Ellicott’s Commentary:
They kept the more silence.—The opening words had done the work they were meant to do. One who spoke in Hebrew was not likely to blaspheme the sacred Hebrew books. What follows was conceived in the same spirit of conciliation.

Paul then proceeds to explain his past. He explained that he was the most RIGID follower of all their customs, even persecuting those who preached anything else. His goal was to punish all those who opposed.

There is little doubt that this mob really did not know Paul. The crowd didn’t know he spoke Hebrew, and they didn’t know he had been persecuting Christians at the highest level. The enemy needed to cause confusion to dilute his message, or make it worthless.

Paul is about to speak.

Acts 21
37 Then as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, “May I speak to you?”

He replied, “Can you speak Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?”

39 But Paul said, “I am a Jew from Tarsus, in Cilicia, a citizen of no [j]mean city; and I implore you, permit me to speak to the people.”

40 So when he had given him permission, Paul stood on the stairs and motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying,

Verse 39 from the Message:
39 Paul said, “No, I’m a Jew, born in Tarsus. And I’m a citizen still of that influential city. I have a simple request: Let me speak to the crowd.”

I find it amazing that the army allowed him to speak to the people. This seems like it could have been a very volatile situation had Paul said the wrong thing.

Not sure if this is truth, but it read out nicely,

Who the soldier thought Paul was:
Towards the end of his writings, Josephus abandons the use of the word ‘Zealots’ for ‘Sicarii’ to make the Hebrews sound even worse villains and the proof of their being wrong and of their guilt was that God made them suffer at the hands of the Romans and die terrible deaths. The accusations made against the Zealots/ Sicarii/ bandits/robbers were as follows:  They opposed those that were willing to submit to Rome and robbed the rich among them as they robbed the Romans.  They showed impiety towards God by eating non-kosher food and not observing the laws of purification.  They made war against Rome, and reproached and damned those that would not fight with them.  They opposed those that reprimanded them and tried to destroy the men in power.  They were unjust in their actions against their neighbors and showed a lack of affection towards their fellow man.  They were attached to liberty acknowledging only God as their ruler.  They refused to confess Caesar as their lord even when ‘all sorts of torments and vexations of their bodies’ were made on them. Even the children refused. (But what was most astonishing to the beholders, was the courage of the children; for not one of these children was so far overcome by these torments, as to name Caesar as their lord.)

Paul and the Mob

Acts 21
30 And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut. 31 Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the [i]garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. And when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another.

Maybe this is why the prophets told Paul not to go, because if he is dead he cannot help the cause. It seems like he was about 4 punches away from death.

Paul had a love for the Jewish people but could not even minister to them for a second. Paul’s message was much better suited for the gentiles. It was too progressive for the Jews.

Acts 21:34
So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks. 35 When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. 36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, “Away with him!”

This Power. This is what I Desire.

Hey Josh,

I figured I would make a new entry. This is what I want us to get :)

One day I was traveling in a railway train where there were two sick people in the car, a mother and her daughter. I said to them, “Look, I’ve something in this bag that will cure every case in the world. It has never been known to fail.” They became very much interested, and I went on telling them more about this remedy that has never failed to remove disease and sickness. At last they summoned up courage to ask for a dose. So I opened my bag, took out my Bible, and read them that verse, “I am the Lord that healeth thee.” It never fails. He will heal you if you dare believe Him. Men are searching everywhere today for things with which they can heal themselves, and they ignore the fact that the Balm of Gilead is within easy reach. As I talked about this wonderful Physician, the faith of both mother and daughter went out toward Him, and He healed them both, right in the train.

God has made His Word so precious that, if I could not get another copy, I would not part with my Bible for all the world. There is life in the Word. There is virtue in it. I find Christ in it; and He is the One I need for spirit, soul and body. It tells me of the power of His name and of the power of His blood for cleansing. The lions may lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. Psalm 34:10.


I think too often most people would sell their bible for a Chiptotle meal if they could.