Scripture reading for July 4th: Acts 22:17-23:10
The next day, Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin. Their attitudes had not been changed. When Paul told them that he had fulfilled his duty to God with a good conscience, the High Priest order Paul struck in the mouth! This body of elders were so prejudiced against Paul that they would not let him explain. To them, he was speaking blasphemy and deserved death!
“Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others were Pharisees called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.” (Acts 23:6-7) Paul knew these rulers and how they thought. He knew how to bring about a division over religious issues. The Pharisees had a strong belief in the supernatural and resurrection and the Sadducees were skeptical about anything they could not understand, especially the resurrection.
The dispute and arguments between Pharisee and Sadducee became so violent that the commander was again afraid for Paul. He ordered Paul taken back to the barracks. “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (Acts 23:11) God again stood by His servant and strengthened him with a word of knowledge that would help Paul endure imprisonment and persecution.
The divide between those who believe in the supernatural and those who are skeptical is still in the church today! Many who claim to believe in Jesus Christ and His resurrection argue vehemently that the miracles of Jesus ceased with the early church and apostles. Those who do believe are looked on as crazy or fanatical. Sometimes there is even heated arguments and division of entire churches! But God is not shaken by this and doesn’t want His servants to lose their courage to declare truth and be used in the supernatural! He comes supernaturally to strengthen and encourage! Take time today and thank Him that He is the God of resurrection and miracles!