Acts 5:17-42 (NLT)
The Apostles Meet Opposition
17 The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.
Psalm 25:19-21 (NIV)
See how my enemies have increased
and how fiercely they hate me!
Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope is in you.
19 But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out. Then he told them, 20 “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!”
Acts 5:20 (Amplified Bible)
Go, take your stand in the temple courts and declare to the people the whole doctrine concerning this Life (the eternal life which Christ revealed).
So the Sanhedrin says, Stop teaching the resurrection, and the angel says, Go declare the resurrection!
21 So at daybreak the apostles entered the Temple, as they were told, and immediately began teaching.
When the high priest and his officials arrived, they convened the high council—the full assembly of the elders of Israel. Then they sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail for trial. 22 But when the Temple guards went to the jail, the men were gone. So they returned to the council and reported, 23 “The jail was securely locked, with the guards standing outside, but when we opened the gates, no one was there!”
24 When the captain of the Temple guard and the leading priests heard this, they were perplexed, wondering where it would all end. 25 Then someone arrived with startling news: “The men you put in jail are standing in the Temple, teaching the people!”
26 The captain went with his Temple guards and arrested the apostles, but without violence, for they were afraid the people would stone them. 27 Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them.
28 “Didn’t we tell you never again to teach in this man’s name?” he demanded. “Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him, and you want to make us responsible for his death!”
29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.
Could the members of the Sanhedrin say the same?
Numbers 22:18 (NASB)
Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, either small or great, contrary to the command of the LORD my God.”
30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross. 31 Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. 32 We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.”
Trinity! GOD raised JESUS from the dead, and the HOLY SPIRIT is the witness.
33 When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them.
34 But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while. 35 Then he said to his colleagues, “Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men! 36 Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing. 37 After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered.
38 “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”
While Gamaliel’s speech worked to the freedom of the apostles, one must wonder what further proof Gamaliel was waiting for. Were the miracles of the apostles and the resurrection of Christ insufficient evidence?
40 The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.
41 The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. 42 And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”
Your grace is enough,
Your grace is enough,
Your grace is enough for me . . .
HERE is “Your Grace Is Enough” by Matt Maher and Chris Tomlin.
I have friends who are missionaries in South Asia; they teach pastors there to tell Bible stories by heart. Many of these pastors have amazing stories of the results of their evangelistic activities. Here is one story, which seems to be of the same fabric as what we have read today in Acts. The names of the village and the pastor have been abbreviated for safety reasons.
A Church for O.
Told by P. N.
To reach the tribal people where I minister, I have to travel by boat all day, staying overnight in one of the villages along the way, and finishing my journey the next day. This remote tribal village is surrounded by mountains, with no hospital, no school, no facilities of any kind. There are no roads — the only way to get there is by boat.
It’s a mountainous area, so I sit there on a big stone and tell Bible stories to the children.
One day as I was traveling back home, I had stopped overnight in O. village. Somebody came and called me and said, “Can you please come to this lady’s house, because she is suffering with fever?”
When I got there the sick woman said, “I have heard that you are telling good stories and encouraging people. So just tell us some stories, some of God’s healing stories, and then please pray for us.” This whole family had been sick for a long time. Not even a single one of them was well. Everyone — even the children — were constantly sick.
She told me, “It is because of the witchcraft and sorcery that people have done to us — my father and my mother and my relatives are all dead. Now only my husband and I are left.” She begged me, “Please do something. Do something for us.”
I told her, “If I pray, nothing harmful will come into your life, not even any witchcraft or any evil forces will have power to hurt you. Just give me some oil and water and I’ll pray for you before I go.”
So I told them the story of Lazarus who had died, and even after 4 days Jesus came and called him to come out of the tomb. After finishing this story, I called the family together and sprinkled the oil and water over them and prayed.
After the prayer, they came and started to bow before me, saying, “Please help us.”
I told them, “I have prayed and now nothing will happen to you. Everything evil is gone.”
By now it was evening, 6:30 PM, and they invited me, “Please stay with us tonight and eat good food.” That was enticing because they cultivate good maize. But I replied, “I don’t want to impose because you are ill now. When you get better, I will come and stay with you.” They said, “Just come to our place and we can start having regular prayer.” They asked me to come again and again.
From that day on, no one in that family is sick. They were totally and completely healed! When I pass by, even if they see me from a long distance away, they will call greetings because they are healed.
The next day before continuing my journey, I also prayed for a neighbor of theirs who was old and very seriously ill. That old lady was shouting and groaning in pain, “Ooh, aah,” because she was not well. I was not able to share a story with her because she was shouting. But I prayed and God healed her.
Now I want to start a church there in O. village. There are sixty to seventy houses. I am unable to go more often because it is 75 kilometers away but I believe God will help me to plant a church there. Please pray for us.