As is its custom on Sundays, the Lectionary pauses the Romans reading and today offers this reading from Acts. With Romans still in mind, we might notice three elements:
- “Then the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near him to strike him on the mouth.” This quasi-judicial practice is the background for “so that every mouth may be silenced” (Rom. 3:19).
- “Are you sitting there to judge me according to the law, and yet in violation of the law you order me to be struck?” See Rom 2:17-24.
- “When Paul noticed that some were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.’” Not only an Israelite, a member of the tribe of Benjamin (Rom 11:1), but—in the right circumstances—happy to continue self-identifying as a Pharisee. Since the Lectionary previously had us in Ecclesiastes: “the wise mind will know the time and way” (8:5).