Friday, September 14, 2007

Acts 5:17-42

The high priest was still observing what was going on, and now knew that something had to be done. Keep in mind that to him, this was a group of radicals who threatened to destroy their faith. He had the apostles arrested again and threw them in the public prison. The next morning he came to interrogate them but they were not there. Luke mentions that everyone was "greatly perplexed" (5:24). What they didn't know was that during the night, an angel had rescued them and told them to go back to the temple and to continue to "speak to the people all the words of this Life" (5:20).

Sure enough, the apostles were outside continuing to do what they had been arrested for. The high priest was furious. He accused them of "intend(ing) to bring this man's blood upon us" (5:28). This was the heart of his concern. He feared for his life. Peter took the opportunity to once again rebuke them.

Now the high priest wanted to kill Peter and the other apostles, but a Pharisee named Gamaliel stepped in. He reminded the council of others who had led rebellions, but who had failed. His suggestion: "keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God" (5:38-39). They beat the apostles, warned them to stop preaching about Jesus, and sent them home. The apostles rejoiced that they "were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name" (5:41).

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