Paul realized that some members of the high council were Sadducees and some were Pharisees, so he shouted, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, as were my ancestors! And I am on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead!”
This divided the council—the Pharisees against the Sadducees— for the Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, but the Pharisees believe in all of these. So there was a great uproar. Acts 23:6-9a (NLT)
One of the tasks of my job is to provide one-on-one call coaching to my client’s employees. Tasked with helping individuals improve their customer service skills on the phone, I often find myself alone in a room with people who don’t want to be there and certainly don’t want to be coached. So, over the past twenty years I’ve learned a host of basic tricks used by people to avoid confronting the issues at hand such as the silent treatment or the happy distraction.
I find it ironic and a bit humorous that there is a reference to Paul’s sister in today’s chapter, for I believe that many of the tactics we learn to divert attention away from the subject of our own crime and punishment are learned as children with our parents. Paul played the artful dodge well, like a child who knows that if they can get his parents conflicting about how to render verdict on the child’s infraction, that child often slips through the cracks of the ensuing argument unscathed.
By raising the contentious issue of resurrection with the council, Paul effectively turned the spotlight off of himself and onto a religious debate that would keep the council arguing about something other than himself and would actually get a large part of the council to defend him.
Sometimes the important thing is not just in what we communicate but how and when we communicate it.