2 and the high priest ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3 then paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” 4 those who stood by said, “would you revile God’s high priest?” 5 and paul said, “i did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘you shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”- [acts 23:2-5]


struck for speaking truth


after spending time in the book of acts, it becomes evident that paul endures physical and/or emotional pain pretty much everywhere he goes. yet this situation feels different. these were the people who knew the law, and led the people of israel. these were the people that paul once was. how could these faith leaders be so desperately wrong?


why was paul ordered to be struck? what had he said that elicited this order? standing before the sanhedrin, in verse 1, paul says that everything he has done has been done before God in good conscience. it appears that this statement alone prompted the order to strike him in the face.


was it because the high priest himself did not live with a good conscience? or perhaps he thought paul was claiming to be saved by his own good deeds? or was he just offended by the truth that paul represented?


whatever the reason, it calls to memory the moment Jesus himself stood before the council (under a different high priest) and was ordered to be struck for speaking the truth.


sometimes the truth will bring up anger in response. and here paul responds to anger with anger, immediately apologizing for it.


we too may find that our initial response to injustice is to return anger for anger, especially when what is happening to us is dreadfully unfair. in those moments, we do well to recall paul’s apology, to remember our savior was also unfairly abused for no reason, and seek to walk in humility regardless of the circumstance.


~ jason soroski