Whitewashed Convictions

Message:  In Acts 23 Paul was taken before the Sanhedrin to be questioned. The priest ordered for him to be smacked in the mouth because he believed Paul was lying about his integrity. They used the law to accuse him but Paul used the law right back at them and called them “whitewashed”. The footnote sin my bible explain the term “whitewashed wall” to mean that they showed an image of outward purity but they were actually corrupt inwardly. This term was also used by Jesus during his encounters with the religious. Paul was a very educated man and because he grew up in the elite Jewish circles he understood the social structures and practices. He recognized at some point that the crowd that was accusing him was mixed with both Pharisees and Sadducees. He used this to his advantage because he knew that there was a very hot-button disagreement between their belief in the resurrection. Paul introduced himself as a Pharisee, and the son of Pharisees and used the resurrection of Jesus as a point of contention. Immediately, the Pharisees flipped from wanting him dead, to supporting. They said “Maybe he DID hear from an angel or a spirit.” What an instantaneous shift! What I got out of this is that once we align ourselves with a belief system, we will flip one way or the other in order to support it. It doesn’t seem likely that they really changed their mind about Jesus as Messiah. What happened is that they abandoned their current fight in order to win a bigger one- the resurrection. As I read this I thought about all of the Christians I have seen support people or subjects while turning a blind eye to other things. I don’t want to make this about politics but it certainly does not exclude it from the conversation. Instead of seeking to find the truth, they were using Paul to further their agenda. They happened to be on the right side of the topic, but for all of the wrong reasons. 5 minutes prior they were all ready to kill him until they discovered his cause supported theirs. It was more of a political move for them than an actual heart change but for Paul, this was a brilliant move. The crowds turned against each other and this shifted him into the care of the Gentile government. There he was protected and sent away. If we aren’t careful we will choose one favorite issue to fight for and we will turn a blind eye to all kinds of corruption in order to support our one. Not because we are seeking after truth, but because we have deceived ourselves into elevating one thing above it all. Lord please unveil our eyes to the deceptions in our hearts. Help us to seek truth and not latch ourselves to an agenda no matter how righteous it may appear.

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