Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead." When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)
Thoughts for Today:Have you ever been in a difficult spot before, one you didn't think you were going to escape? Then when all seemed lost, in a sudden flash of inspiration, you saw things differently, and your way out was clear. Jesus tells us in Mark 13:11 this inspiration is from the Holy Spirit, "Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit."
Previously as Paul looked into the room he saw an unruly crowd that was united in its desire to literally tear him apart. In our passage today, his vision is suddenly cleared and he now sees the division among them. I believe both Paul's insight and his inspired words were given to him by the Holy Spirit. Rather than an angry crowd, Paul saw Sadducees (who recognized only Genesis through Deuteronomy) and Pharisees (who firmly believed in the supernatural). Through Paul's testimony he revealed the differences between them and the debate which had raged for centuries. The emphasis was taken off of the man, Paul; and placed on the resurrected savior, Jesus Christ.
Questions to Ponder:Many times we take too much responsibility for completing God's work. It is our responsibility to allow Christ to work in us and thereby do good works, however it God's job to complete that work. So how do we do that? Just as Paul from our passage today did -- by allowing and following the Holy Spirit's provision of both insight and inspiration. However, if we are not careful, fear and logic can be the great killers of the Holy Spirit's influence upon us -- fearfulness because it blocks the Holy Spirit's voice; and logic because sometimes the Spirit's instruction will defy reason. Will you allow the Lord to do a great work through you? And when faced with difficult circumstances faithfully listen for the Spirit's voice? Is there a situation you have now in which you can apply this lesson? How will you begin?