Paul was up against some pretty intense people. His mere appearance at the temple drove them into a frenzy to kill him, (21:31). His attempt to explain his testimony and mission was met with screaming, tearing their clothes and throwing dust in the air (22:23). His first sentence of defense was interrupted by the high priest’s order for him to be slapped (23:2).
Their passion was so out of control that Paul used it as a tool against them. He switched their common hatred from him to their longstanding debate about the resurrection. The Pharisees could not help but passionately support the resurrection; the Sadducees were adamant against the resurrection. They were so divided that some even started supporting Paul. The commander again stepped in to rescue Paul because he thought he might be torn in half. Passion then drove some of these Jews to make an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. But God thwarted their ambush plan and they went hungry.
The Jews wanted Paul dead with such passion that it motivated them to lose reason and self-control. Their passion was like an idol before their face so that it blinded them to God’s work.
James describes the problem with uncontrolled passion as follows: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.” James 4:1-2
How are you doing at controlling your passions? Note the answer to such conflict = ask God!