The Apostle Paul: Paul before the Council

30 “But on the next day, desiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them. 1And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” (Acts 22:30–23:1)

The Roman tribune Claudius Lysias (Acts 23:26), in charge of the Apostle Paul’s arrest due to the riot which occurred in Jerusalem (Acts 21:27-36), decided to bring the accused to the Jewish chief priests and the council known as the Sanhedrin. Since the Jews accused Paul of crimes, Claudius thought it best to bring Paul to the Roman approved and delegated Jewish authorities. He did so the day after the events recorded in Acts 21:27-22:29.

The Sanhedrin was the Jews’ national ruling body and Supreme Court. It had 71 members, including the high priest. The Sanhedrin is prominent in the Passion narratives of the Gospels as the ruling body that tried and convicted Jesus. It appeared again in Acts as the judicial court that investigated and persecuted the growing Christian church (Acts 4).

It is interesting that Claudius brought Paul to the council unbound and sat him down before them. A wise and astute soldier, he would not have done so if he sensed the apostle was a threat to anyone. The purpose for bringing him to the council was to discover the real reason(s) why the Jews accused Paul.

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “By this time the commander knew the accusations against Paul were Jewish (cf. vv. 23–29), and the best way to unearth these was to have a hearing before the Sanhedrin. If the prisoner was found innocent he could be released, but if the charges were valid the case could be remitted to the procurator, the Roman governor (cf. 23:26–30).”

Before going into any details, Paul began his testimony before the council by stating that he had a clear conscience in living his life before the LORD. While the Jews might find him guilty, Paul was confident that God would judge him innocent and righteous. Paul’s confidence was based on God justifying him by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone (Romans 3:21-26), and his subsequent obedience to the Word and will of God (Ephesians 2:1-10).

May each of us have our confidence, before God and men, rooted and grounded in God’s grace. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!

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