Signs and Wonders followed by Persecution and Courage
Acts 5:12-42 – October 09, 2022
Acts 5:12-16. Even with all the signs and wonders, people were afraid to join them as a whole, though many did believe and joined the church.
Acts 5:17-20. Out of jealously the apostles were arrested and put in a public jail. The were not just jealous but filled with jealously. Today we might say they were consumed with jealously.
Acts 5:21-24. The apostles were teaching as instructed while the Sanhedrin sat around confused with what had happened as the angel had apparently gone back and made sure the doors were locked. What happened? Notice as we read further there is no mention of this incredible escape by the apostles.
Acts 5:25-26. What did the captain and his officers find? People assembling in the temple for the regular mandator 9:00 a.m. prayers. These people most likely aware of their arrest the prior day would have been surprised to see them there teaching and even more surprised to learn how they gained their freedom.
Acts 5:27-28. Notice here they cannot bring themselves to mention the name Jesus. They were surprised and upset that the apostles were laying the responsibility of the Messiah’s death on them, the Jewish leadership.
Acts 5:29-32. Peter and the other apostles pulled no punches, they stated directly you killed Him by hanging Him on a cross after prefacing this with We must obey God rather than human beings! Meaning them.
Acts 5:33-39. Truth did not matter to the Sanhedrin or rather the truth enraged them to the point they wanted the apostles to be put to death. Today we call that cognitive dissonance where they believe one thing, but the facts tell them something different. But then Gamaliel (Ga may li al), whose name means God is also for me, stood up.
Of his two examples, there is no record of the first, the second is mentioned by Josephus and eventually morphed into a group of zealots so opposed to Roman taxes and rule they let the revolt in 66 AD that led to the destruction of Jerusalem.
Acts 5:40. It is believed all the apostles received 39 lashes, one less than the 40 permitted in Deuteronomy 25:3. They would have received 13 lashes to the chest and 26 lashes to their backs for a total of 39 lashes.
Acts 5:41-42. The apostles did not return home ashamed and full of caution and fear about what they would not do. No, instead they wore their suffering as a badge of honor as it was on behalf of Jesus. With renewed zeal they kept right on preaching that Jesus was the Messiah, who had died for the sins of all and had been resurrected.
This should bring to mind Richard Wrumbrand, author of Tortured for Christ, who was imprisoned for 14 years for his faith. A quote from the book, It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their [the communists’ ] terms. It was a deal; we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching. They were happy beating us, so everyone was happy.
Conclusion/Bottom Line: God’s authority, by definition, trumps even the highest of legislative powers.
Even today when you can be harassed or even lose your job for speaking the truth.
Or be arrested for being pro-life.
Many today are afraid to speak the truth even when asked directly.
What would you say if asked about gay marriage for instance? Or about adultery? Would you be able to say you believe what the bible tells us, that they are sins?
The apostles and Richard Wrumbrand set the standard for us. Will we live up to it?
Will we speak against the medical establishment experimenting on children and young teenagers?
Paraphrasing Psalm 27:1, God is on your side, so be fearless. Do not be mean spirited, instead be kind and at the same time be fearless in telling the truth.