Let’s start with some definitions.
Pharisee-felt spiritually superior; held themselves to the strict letter of the law; observed traditions to be as binding as the written word.
Sadducee- wealthy upper class; didn’t hold to tradition; denied there was a resurrection of the dead… which is why they were Sad-you-see
Sanhedrin- Jewish court of justice. Made up of both Pharisees & Sadducees.
When the commander realized Paul was a Roman citizen, he wanted to unload this problem in a hurry. When brought before the Sanhedrin, Paul took the bull by the horns. As a Pharisee, he focused on an issue he knew was divisive: resurrection. So strong were their differences, the groups came to blows and even plotted to assassinate Paul.
Violence is never the answer. In our dealings we must remember to represent our humble Lord.
Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath”. Paul calmly stated his belief. He didn’t shout down the opposition.
James 1:20 “Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires”.
I Corinthians 16:14 tells us to “Do everything in love”. Paul didn’t bully people into his way of thinking. We are called to preach the kingdom. God will change men’s hearts.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- How was God working through this situation so that what He wanted done would be done? (see verse 11 and the rest of the chapter)
- What groups today are in sharp dispute with one another, sometimes leading to violence?
- How will you practice a “soft answer” and “doing everything in love” next time you are in the middle of a dispute?