Having already received a beating from the crowd of Jews in Jerusalem (Acts 21.32), Paul was delivered over by a Roman commander to be flogged (22.24), released (22.30) and stood before the Jewish Sanhedrin (23.1).
Knowing that one side believed in the resurrection from the dead and that the other side did not, he made his appeal from one position only. Like a match to kerosene, the room was in an uproar. The commander thought Paul might be torn to pieces.
Why was this acceptable?
Both groups opposed the way of Jesus and each obscured the most important law, 'love the Lord, your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.'
The leaders (many of them at least) were the proverbial "blind leading the blind", yet would not humble themselves to admit their need and truly seek after God. More content to quarrel with one another, and later, some of each group would band together for the express purpose of murdering Paul.
Paul felt the crush of the crowd, winced as blows reigned down and yet he stood tall. It was, and still is, more important that the way of Jesus be displayed and proclaimed than one's own health be spared. Repeatedly, God sent messengers to encourage, comfort and guide Paul; he knew he was in good hands.
How far I am willing to go for Jesus' reputation?
Am I not in good hands also?
Lord, help me to discover the next step away from my comfort zone. Amen.