Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this, the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck! Acts 23:1-3
Acts 22 is the continued story of Paul and about how he has angered so many people with his testimonies and teaching that there are many who just want him dead. He actually seems to incite a riot between the Pharisees and Sadducees, trying to get the Pharisees on his side. He ends up back in jail where a plot against his life gets him transferred to Caesarea and he is held there awaiting a trial with his accusers.
I had to look up whitewashed wall: ‘Having an attractive exterior but filled with unclean contents’ (a metaphor for hypocrite). For some reason, this is the verse that kind of poked at me in this chapter. It kind of reminds me of the saying ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.’ Then I also found: “Those who spend their time looking for the faults in others usually make no time to correct their own.” “Your judgments about other people say more about you than they do about the people you’re judging.” “Be careful with your words, once they are said, they can be only forgiven, not forgotten.” And then I quit looking because I started feeling really guilty.
Dear Lord, please help us to not turn away from your words just because they might be hard to hear. Help us to hear and see your wisdom and love in all the lessons you offer us. Help us to recognize when our thoughts, words or deeds have strayed from your path and help us keep an open heart to your saving grace. Amen.