The next day the commander ordered the leading priests into session with the Jewish high council. He wanted to find out what the trouble was all about, so he released Paul to have him stand before them. (Acts of the Apostles 22:30 NLT)
Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!” Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth. But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?” Those standing near Paul said to him, “Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?” “I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’ ” 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. Some of the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees jumped up and began to argue forcefully. “We see nothing wrong with him,” they shouted. “Perhaps a spirit or an angel spoke to him.” As the conflict grew more violent, the commander was afraid they would tear Paul apart. So he ordered his soldiers to go and rescue him by force and take him back to the fortress. (Acts of the Apostles 23:1-10 NLT)
Paul was sent to the Sanhedrin (the Jewish high council) by the Roman commander so he could find out, exactly, what the matter was that caused this uproar and behavior toward Paul. Paul began his statement with the proclamation that he had lived in clear conscience before God always. This infuriated the high priest, Ananias, and commanded Paul to be slapped. Paul responds by calling the high priest a white washed wall (KJV), hypocrite (NLT). A whitewashed wall was one that was actually dirty but made to look like it was clean. In other words, it was dirty beneath the surface. Paul was calling the high priest a hypocrite for his appearing to be right with God, yet wicked.
O, how the church needs more men of God who will call the religious people of our time what they are, white washed walls. Many of our religious leaders are caught up in their position and are, in reality, only holding a religious office without the relationship with God that the office requires. I'm sure many of them would say "I do have a relationship with God". If this was the case, they would not endorse homosexual marriage and they would not accept the killing of unborn babies. Furthermore, they would care more about seeing lives transformed by the power of Jesus rather than preaching a socially and politically acceptable gospel.
Let us not be afraid to proclaim the gospel in it's biblical form (pure and holy).
Rev. Curtis Norris