Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Working the Room

Acts 23:6 Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, "Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial."

6 Γνοὺς δὲ ὁ Παῦλος ὅτι τὸ ἓν μέρος ἐστὶν Σαδδουκαίων τὸ δὲ ἕτερον Φαρισαίων ἔκραζεν ἐν τῷ συνεδρίῳ· ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί, ἐγὼ Φαρισαῖός εἰμι, υἱὸς Φαρισαίων, περὶ ἐλπίδος καὶ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν [ἐγὼ] κρίνομαι

I've always liked this verse.  Paul was standing before the Sanhedrin, which was like the Supreme Court of the Jews.  Paul's whole mission was to evangelize.  We know from Galatians that he was specifically called to evangelize to the Gentiles, but he still had a heart for his people.  He preached the gospel to them every chance he got.

What I like about this passage is that it shows how Paul remained shrewd in his dealings.  We will see later how he appeals to Caesar so that he can get a free trip to Rome.  Paul was aware of what was going on around him and he used things to his advantage.

I do not think that this means we should be trying to "work the system" every chance we get.  However, I do think that it means that we need to be aware of the conditions in which we find ourselves.  We need to know the rules of the game and operate within them.  The danger is that we would do this for personal gain.  Paul did it for the sake of the gospel.  He knew that this statement would put the Pharisees on his side because the Pharisees and Sadducees hated each other more than they hated him.  This gave him the opportunity he needed.

Let us be wise about spreading the gospel.  God gives us many opportunities.  Are we going to be wise enough to take them?  The word here is that Paul Γνοὺς.  Are we going to "come to know" or "recognize?"


Jakee said...

This is amazing

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

We do not "work the system" as you say, but we follow Jesus, and when He opens a door, and calls us to go thru it, we say, Yes, Lord, and go thru the door. Paul is indeed a true Jew, very shrewd, as is our Lord Himself, who teaches us, "Be as cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves."