Summary: This is the 5th of our series on Action in Acts. We look at the charges against Peter, how he did not seek to justify himself but share what God was doing, and how we are called to focus on what is truly important.
Action – Follow the right voice (5:17-42)
Have you noticed how there seems to be people making stands for all sorts of things in life? There are thousands of causes, and there are people fighting for all sorts of things. Even within the “church” community, there are people with sincere hearts working on different sides of the same issue, there are groups, both in churches and in the world, that are splitting apart over differences that people say are very important. And so, as we seek to be God’s people in St. Pierre, and in Action, we need to develop wisdom in understanding what is worth taking a stand for and what is not.
We join in the story again just a few verses after last week, as we see what God is doing with this new community of God’s people, this new Israel forming, growing and showing the power and evidence of God, with miracles and fellowship and Generosity, we come to renewed opposition, yet again taking this tension between opposition and God’s ability and power at overcoming. This time it is the religious and cultural leaders in Jerusalem.
5:17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”
21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.
When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles. 22 But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this.
25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.
27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”