Acts 5: 21- 42

Written by kathleen on Feb 15, 2015 in - No Comments

Acts 5:21-42

A Bigger Nation

21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought 22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. (They had doubt about their actions)

“They entered into the temple early in the morning.” I like that! It doesn’t say, “They went into the temple the first chance they had,” or “They waited until noon.” But following their release from prison the night before, the apostles headed straight for the temple early the next morning. What obedience! What boldness! They went to the most public place they could (the temple), and as soon as they could (early in the morning).

The largest nation in the world today is procrasti-nation.  Procrastination is a real problem in spiritual life and spiritual discipline. When the Lord speaks to your heart, be it in Bible study, in devotions, through a book you read, or through a sister or brother, we must learn to respond immediately.

There is a story of a very wealthy inventor who said, “Without exception, after I have invented something and patented it, at least ten men come to me and say, “I thought of that a long time ago.” But the difference between their poverty and my wealth is that they thought about it, and I did it.”

The same thing is true spiritually. There are those who think, You know, I really should share my faith, or I really should pray, or I really should get involved. They think and they think and they think, while they remain spiritually poor. The ones who are used by and are rich in the Lord are those who hear and do.

Many people in the church today have a tendency is to say, “Thank You, Lord. You freed me from prison. You freed me from eternal damnation, from meaningless existence, and from emotional depression. You opened the door for Me, Lord, and I know You told me to go and share the Word with everyone. And I’m gonna get right on it,—pretty soon.” Resulting in an unproductive spiritual life!

As a result of not procrastinating Notice the things they were accused of according to the testimony of the high priest, they filled the city with the doctrine of Jesus Christ.  Isn’t that an awesome accusation? Don’t you wish we could be charged with that? You are brought before the judge and the charge is:  You’ve filled the city of Venice or you’ve filled Sarasota County with the doctrine of Jesus Christ!  

Jesus said you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in Judea.  They have now witnessed in Jerusalem.

25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned.

When they were thought to be in the prison, these guys were obediently teaching God’s word so when the high priests and other officials found out the apostles were gone, and the prison was still shut securely, they wondered what the outcome would be.  .

The hearts of the Jewish rulers are again exposed when they order the arrest of the Apostles. They feared the people, but they did not fear God. Therefore the apostles were arrested again BUT the Apostles  also knew how easy it would be for God to release them again, if it pleased Him to do so. Their past experience of the power of God had filled them with faith for the present. The same for us!

The Apostles faith showed they could have a carnal or fleshly solution to their problem was available, but they did not use it. The apostles did not appeal to popular opinion for protection against the Jewish rulers because their trust was in God and God alone

27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”

The accusation of the high priest is a wonderful testimony to the effectiveness of the message preached by the apostles. The high priest himself declares they have filled Jerusalem with their doctrine. But he no doubt meant that the apostles intended to hold the Jewish leaders responsible, in some measure, for the execution of Jesus and doesn’t want to bring this Man’s blood on the Jewish rulers!

Hadn’t the crowd said to Pontius Pilate, “Let His blood be upon us and our children” (see Matthew 27:25)? P Piolet sence of justice as a roman was violated Yet here they are complaining because they’re being made to feel guilty and responsible for the death of Jesus.

Yet, we know that the apostles must have desired for the high priest and the other Jewish leaders to come to faith in Jesus, even as some other priests did. For certain, the apostles wanted to bring the covering, cleansing blood of Jesus upon the high priest!

29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

What a testimony of great boldness, in contrast to the Sanhedrin, who were more concerned about man’s opinion than God’s opinion

The apostles’ response to the Sanhedrin was not a defense or is it a plea for mercy; it is a simple explanation of action.

Why does Peter refer to the cross as a tree? V.30 Because he is drawing an association from Deuteronomy 21:22-23, where it says that a person hanged from a tree is cursed by God.

Therefore Peter is bringing attention to the magnitude of their rejection of Jesus, pointing out that they killed him in the worst way possible, both from a Roman perspective (the cross) and a Jewish perspective (the tree association); and concludes with this is based on eyewitness testimony, which is also confirmed by God!               

33 When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them. Now remember that they didn’t believe in resurrection because of that Luke describes them as ‘being sawn asunder (cut to the heart).”

From them saying we are bearing witness through the power of the Holy Spirit and by the Holy Spirit with the miracles that are being done.  The healings, all of these are the Holy Spirit’s witness that Jesus is alive because God raised him from the dead.

34 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it — lest you even be found to fight against God.”

Gamaliel was the grandson of the esteemed Hillel, the founder of Israel’s strongest school of religion. Gamaliel was given the title Rabban (“our teacher”), which was a step above the title Rab (“teacher”) or Rabbi (“my teacher”). Due to his knowledge of the law and because he walked with great integrity in his attempt to keep the law, Gamaliel was called “The Beauty of the Law” by his contemporaries. He was a brilliant thinker and one of the most influential teachers in all of Jewish history,

Gamaliel was Saul’s / Paul’s teacher.  Saul who was there in the counsel because he was one of the voting members of the Sanhedrin, hearing his professor giving this advice, still determined to stamp out the church and to fight against the church. Persecuting those that called on the name of Jesus, until the Lord finally stopped him on the road to Damascus.

Gamaliel was really a fence sitter. He spoke as if they should wait and see if Jesus and the apostles were really from God. But what greater testimony did he need, beyond Jesus’ resurrection and the apostles’ miracles? Why does he adopt a “wait-and-see” attitude?  He didn’t want to commit so he began procrastinating concerning who Jesus really was.

Gamaliel proposed the test of time, and that is an important test, but more important than the test of time is the test of eternity.

40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

The leaders thought they would intimidate and discourage the apostles with a beating which can also be translated skinned; meaning the beating they received stripped the skin off of their backs.  “It was no soft option; people were known to die from it, even if this was exceptional. It was meant to be a serious lesson to offenders.”

Instead, they left rejoicing. They were not rejoicing that they suffered, but that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. For them It was a privilege to be associated with Jesus in any circumstance, even to suffer shame.

They did not cease put off or procrastinate teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Whatever beating or shameful treatment the Sanhedrin gave them, it did absolutely no good. The disciples didn’t stop preaching for a moment.

That brings us to today & where are we at and what are we doing concerning our faith and how we are living it-or not!

2 Tim 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

2 Tim 4:3-5a For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things,

The last days are no longer coming THEY ARE HERE and we are all part of it. The question is which part? (In Christ or apart from Christ!) It’s hard to tell which in some cases!

Today the purity of the church of Jesus Christ has fallen into such great apostasy & weakness due to procrastination and NOT allowing Jesus to be the main determining factor on how we choose to live.

Because of this procrastination those who are not seeking to live by the word of God are deceiving themselves according to James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

A great part of the people who make up the church in the USA are putting off or procrastinating the basic commands of Gods word. OH they are hearers of the word but they are failing to apply what they hear to every day life.

When this takes place a number of thing are affected; such as a personal closer walk with Jesus, personal life styles and relationships that could be different in a better way, a holiness in attitude, a love and concern for other believers, more of a desire to reach the ones who do not know Jesus as their savior and the list continues on. Today God is asking you to come out of procrastination nation and be an active part of His kingdom.