A Question to Ponder

Acts 23:1-5 reads,

“And looking intently at the council, Paul said, ‘Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.’ And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, ‘God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?’ Those who stood by said, ‘Would you revile God’s high priest?’ And Paul said, ‘I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'””

Paul certainly deemed it inappropriate to speak to the high priest the way he did. But what if the exact same thing happened and it wasn’t the high priest who ordered Paul to be struck? Would Paul’s sharp words have been appropriate? In other words, did Paul speak sinfully here? Or could it be that there is a place for such imprecations today (or is the word imprecation too strong in this instance)? And if so, then how does this square with Jesus’ words to turn the other cheek?

Something to chew on!  Maybe it would be a good question to take up tonight over dinner or during family worship.  Feel free to share you thoughts!


One Comment

  1. Robin March 19, 2015 at 10:25 am #

    Turning the other cheek is a general attitude that is part of a Christ-centered lifestyle; however, this situation is different because Paul is in a court before a council – a place that should represent the epitome of law-keeping, and he is treated wrongly. Paul, of all people, knew the law, and he would have been naturally zealous to see its proper use. Who better than Paul would have understood the hypocrisy of Pharisees and Sadducees, and who more than Paul would be able to use Jesus’ own words? Paul calling the high priest a white-washed wall was legitimate in a spiritual sense; nonetheless, he regretted saying it because of the law itself.

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