Summary: The Sanhedrin was up in arms because Peter was making them guilty of "Jesus Blood." It’s not like they could accuse Peter of anti-semiticism... but were they guilty?
OPEN: In Reader’s Digest, a young woman told of being employed as a dental receptionist.
She said: I was on duty when an extremely nervous patient came for root canal surgery. He was brought into the examining room and made comfortable in the reclining dental chair. The dentist then injected a numbing agent around the patient’s tooth, and left the room for a few minutes while the medication took hold.
When the dentist returned, the patient was standing next to a tray of dental equipment.
"What are you doing by the surgical instruments?" asked the surprised dentist.
Focused on his task, the patient replied, "I’m taking out the ones I don’t like."
APPLY: Apparently, some of those tools made the patient very uncomfortable. AND, his intention was to remove anything from the tray that was unpleasant to him.
I. The High Priest and the Sanhedrin are uncomfortable.
There’s something about the Apostles (and what they’re preaching) that is unpleasant for these leaders.
SO… their intention is to “remove” this irritation from their sight
- They begin with a warning in Acts Chapter 4
- Now, they jail them, flog them and warn them sternly not to do this again
- AND later, we find them openly persecuting (not just the Apostle) but the whole church
They threatened them
And even stoned some of them to death
Now… why would they do this?
I mean Peter and John – and the rest of the church – were doing good things in the community
They are helping people…
healing the sick,
reaching out to the poor
standing against evil
These are good citizens
So, why are the High Priest and the Sanhedrin so angry with these Apostles? Why are they making life so difficult on them?
Well… it’s not because of what they DOING… but because of what they TEACHING
II. What is it about their teaching that made the Sanhedrin so upset?
Here in Acts 5, the Sanhedrin explains the underlying reason they’re so upset:
"We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name…yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood." Acts 5:28
Were they guilty of Jesus blood?
In the Gospels we find that : Jesus was arrested about Midnight. And the Sanhedrin began it’s trial at about 2 A.M. on the day before the Sabbath.
Now, there were several things about the arrest & trial of Jesus that were illegal
1st, it was against Jewish Law to arrest someone at night unless the accused was in the act of a crime AND, you weren’t supposed to arrest someone without a warrant - and no legal court had indicted Jesus.
2ndly the Sanhedrin was illegally assembled: according to their own rules, they weren’t allowed to convene on the day before a Sabbath, or on a day before such holy seasons such as Passover.
3rdly it was against Jewish law for a court to be held at night.
4thly the Sanhedrin wasn’t allowed to institute proceedings, but only to judge those who were brought before them by magistrates. And the preliminary trial, which was held before the High Priest Annas was illegal. The whole court was required to hear all the information.
5thly, the balloting was illegal. The younger were to vote 1st so that they would not be influenced by the elder and more powerful. Here the chairman pronounced Jesus guilty and worthy of death before anyone else had even voted.
And 6thly Jewish Law insisted that no capital case calling for a death penalty could be heard in single day. The sentence must not be pronounced on the same day as the trial. However, Jesus was tried, convicted, sentenced and executed on the same day.
In short… this was a Kangaroo Court. And the verdict was decided long before Jesus was bro’t before them.
So, were these leaders “guilty” of Jesus’ blood???
Oh yeah … and they knew it.
BUT the Bible teaches that they weren’t the only ones.
We’re all guilty of Jesus’ blood… we’re guilty because it was our sins that condemned Jesus to death.
Isaiah 53:5 tells us “… he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
We were the reason Jesus went to the cross
It was our sins
OUR SINS that nailed Jesus
ILLUS: And that’s part of what Mel Gibson tried to communicate in the movie “The Passion.”
In the part of the movie where Jesus is being nailed to the cross – the hand (in the movie) that held the nail to be driven into Christ’s hand – that hand was Mel Gibson’s.