10 May. Acts 5:17-42

10 May. The apostles are imprisoned but won't be silenced

"The [Jewish] high priest and all his friends (a group called the Sadducees) became very jealous [of Jesus's followers]. They took the apostles and put them in jail."

"But during the night, an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and led the apostles outside. The angel said, 'Go and stand in the [Jewish] Temple and tell the people everything about this new life.' When the apostles heard this, they obeyed and went into the Temple early in the morning and continued teaching."

"When the high priest and his friends arrived, they called a meeting of the Jewish leaders and all the important Jewish elders [the Sanhedrin]. They sent some men to the jail to bring the apostles to them... [but] the jail was empty... "

"The soldiers brought the apostles [from the Temple]… and made them stand before the Jewish leaders. The high priest questioned them, saying, 'We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in that name. But look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are trying to make us responsible for this man's death."

"Peter and the other apostles answered, 'We must obey God, not human authority! You killed Jesus by hanging him on a cross. But God, the God of our ancestors, raised Jesus up from the dead!..."

"When the Jewish leaders heard this, they became angry and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel stood up in the meeting. He was a teacher of the [Jewish] law, and all the people respected him. He ordered the apostles to leave the meeting for a little while."

"Then he said, 'People of Israel, be careful what you are planning to do to these men. Remember when Theudas appeared? He said he was a great man... But he was killed, and all his followers were scattered... Later, a man named Judas came from Galilee... and was killed, and all his followers were scattered.'"

"'And so now I tell you: stay away from these men, and leave them alone. If their plan comes from human authority, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be fighting against God himself!'"

"The Jewish leaders agreed with what Gamaliel said. They called the apostles in, beat them and told them not to speak in the name of Jesus again. Then they let them go free."

"The apostles left the meeting full of joy because they were given the honour of suffering disgrace for Jesus. Every day in the Temple and in people's homes they continued teaching the people and telling the Good News - that Jesus is the Christ [the Messiah, the 'anointed one']."

          (Acts 5:17-42)

 

 

In today's reading, Peter and some other apostles were jailed by the High Priest, but an angel set them free during the night. The apostles returned to the Temple courts at daybreak and continued to preach. They were forced to appear before the Jewish Council again. Peter stated boldly that the Sanhedrin had ordered the crucifixion of Jesus, but God had raised him from death to his own right hand as the saviour of the Jewish people.

Most members of the council wanted to put the apostles to death (for what they considered ‘blasphemy’), but Gamaliel – a respected member of the Sanhedrin (see Acts 22:3) – persuaded them to follow a more cautious path. He reminded them that after previous popular leaders such as Theudas and Judas the Galilean were killed, their followers were soon dispersed and their ideas came to nothing (see more about Jewish Nationalists @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/21-t…/jewish-nationalists/ ).

So they had the apostles flogged and ordered them not to speak of Jesus again. But the apostles continued to preach the Good News in the Temple courts and in houses throughout Jerusalem. Their brave response, 'We must serve God, not human authority' (Acts 5:29) has become a rallying cry for persecuted Christians down the centuries.

The photo (by Eliel Joseph Shafler) shows Haredi Jews at morning prayers and Tora reading at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

You can read more about the opposition that Jesus's followers encountered in Jerusalem @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/…/opposition-in-jerusalem/


Printer Printable Version