Jesus’ Life: Chapter 20 – Early Spread Of Gospel By the Disciples
The Jewish people looked with respect and awe at the miraculous works of the Apostles in the temple area.
A few months after Pentecost, the Apostles daily routine was to assemble at Solomon’s Portico early morning and thereafter undertake a mix of teaching, baptising and breaking bread. They were attracting an ever-increasing number of believers from Jerusalem and the towns around. Many would bring their sick and place them on the streets hoping Peter would pass by and the mere covering of his shadow would heal them. “They were all being healed”. (Acts 5:16)
However, not all were happy with the Apostles! The high priest, Caiaphas, and other Sadducees of the Sanhedrin were filled with indignation and jealousy for the miracles done by them and they ordered their arrest and imprisonment.
Although securely locked in a “public jail,” overnight “an Angel of the Lord” opened the doors and led the Apostles out saying, “Go and stand in the temple courts and proclaim to the people all the words of this life”. (Acts 5:20)
In the morning, when the Sanhedrin and elders assembled, they summoned the Apostles. But when the officers found the doors still locked and the Apostles missing, they reported their absence to the Sanhedrin who were then informed that the Apostles were back in the temple courts teaching, as the “Angel of the Lord” had told them.
The commander of the temple then went with court officers and, “without the use of force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people,” brought them to the Sanhedrin.
When questioned by Caiaphas saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this [Jesus’] name. Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood [Jesus’ blood] on us,” Peter proudly stood up as the Apostle representative and announced, “We must obey God rather than people. The God of our forefathers” – the Jewish people, “[who] raised up Jesus, whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree”. (Acts 5:29-30)
When the Sanhedrin heard Peter still insisting that they were the crucifiers of Jesus, “they became furious and wanted to execute the Apostles,” but Gamaliel, a respected Pharisee, stood up and ordered the Apostles outside while he addressed the Sanhedrin.
Gamaliel reminded the Sanhedrin members that throughout the history of the Jewish people, others rose up like the Apostles, many were killed, but nothing came of their claims! So, in this instance he said, “Stay away from these men and leave them alone, because if this plan or this undertaking originates with people, it will come to nothing, but if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them, or you may even be found fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39)
The Sanhedrin accepted Gamaliel’s argument. They then had the Apostles beaten and released.
The Apostles rejoiced, having suffered in the name of Jesus and been “granted permission” to continue teaching in the temple courts. (Acts 5:17-42)
The many miracles performed through Peter acted as irrefutable evidence to the people that Jesus was still on earth and working among them.
Likewise, there is no prison so dark, that Jesus cannot enter.
Lord Jesus, bless those who are suffering persecution for their faith today, relieve their pain and grant them a safe haven in your kingdom. Amen.
Remember O Most Gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to Thy protection,
implored Thy help or sought Thy intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly unto Thee O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother;
to Thee, I come; before You, I stand,
sinful and sorrowful,
O Mother of the Word incarnate,
despise not my petitions;
but in Thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.