Good morning! Last week we finished our reading in Acts chapter 22, with the final verse stating, “30 The next day the commander ordered the leading priests into session with the Jewish high council.[e] He wanted to find out what the trouble was all about, so he released Paul to have him stand before them.” This leads us to today’s verses in Acts chapter 23, where Paul begins to speak.
“Gazing intently at the high council,[a] Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!”
2 Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth. 3 But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite![b] What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?”
4 Those standing near Paul said to him, “Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?”
5 “I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’[c]” – Acts 23:1-5 NLT
Note, the Ananias mentioned in these verses is not the same Ananias who Paul met after he was blinded on the Damascus road.
Paul was ordered to be struck before an official determination of his guilt, which was injust. Paul, was certainly annoyed by the unjustice of the one who commanded him to be struck. While Paul did not initially, recognize Ananias as a high priest, once Paul learned of Ananis’ position Paul respected the position. I’m not certain why Paul did not initially recognize Ananias as a high priest, it could have been that Ananias’ character didn’t align with the position he was in.
Sisters and brothers, in this life we will encounter injustices – some against us and witness some against others. While we may not always agree with those in authority we are called to continously represent the kingdom of God well. To be Christians – using godly wisdom, truth and discernment to address issues, to pray for those in authority and those not in authority. We are called to act justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with God.
This week will you spend time in prayer for those in authority? Will you take time to pray for their salvation, transformation and for them to live out godly principles (the Word) in every area of their lives? Will you pray for those who have been unjustly imprisoned, mistreated, lied on and given no hope for justice to occur? Will you ask the Lord to protect those who are innocent, to reveal the truth, and turn those situations around? Will you ask the Lord to continue to work in you and transform you?
If so, start praying and keep praying. Spend sometime at the Lord’s feet.
Father God, thank you for a new week. Thank you for caring for us. Thank you for always being beside us and for working within us. Lord, we want to be used by you. Lord, we know there will be consequences of following you, but your promises are greater than those consequences. Lord, give us boldness, help us to be brave and help us to stand firm on your promises. Lord, renew us and keep us from wandering a way from you. Lord, we pray for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Lord, you know every detail of their pain – please, comfort their hearts and give them peace. Lord, we continue our prayers for those going through cancer and other types treatments. Lord, help them to endure and overcome. Finally, Lord we pray for all the people who have been impacted by COVID-19. We pray about the vaccine. Lord, there have been good and negative reports regarding the vaccine. Lord, we pray that it does not cause lasting complications or alterations with DNA. Lord, continue to give the scientists wisdom and knowledge to produce an improved vaccine without side effects, etc. In the meantime, Lord, keep us well. Release prisoners who have been unjustly imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. In Jesus name, amen.
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