Unity in Christ Jesus
Acts 5:17-42: The apostles are arrested but an angel of the Lord releases them from prison. They are then brought before the Council and Gamaliel, one of the Council’s leaders, argues that, if the work of the apostles is of human origin, it will fail; but if their work is of God, it cannot be defeated.
The Apostles Are Persecuted
17 Then the High Priest and all his companions, members of the local party of the Sadducees, became extremely jealous of the apostles; so they decided to take action. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But that night an angel of the Lord opened the prison gates, led the apostles out, and said to them, 20 “Go and stand in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new life.” 21 The apostles obeyed, and at dawn they entered the Temple and started teaching.
The High Priest and his companions called together all the Jewish elders for a full meeting of the Council; then they sent orders to the prison to have the apostles brought before them. 22 But when the officials arrived, they did not find the apostles in prison, so they returned to the Council and reported, 23 “When we arrived at the jail, we found it locked up tight and all the guards on watch at the gates; but when we opened the gates, we found no one inside!” 24 When the chief priests and the officer in charge of the Temple guards heard this, they wondered what had happened to the apostles. 25 Then a man came in and said to them, “Listen! The men you put in prison are in the Temple teaching the people!” 26 So the officer went off with his men and brought the apostles back. They did not use force, however, because they were afraid that the people might stone them.
27 They brought the apostles in, made them stand before the Council, and the High Priest questioned them. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in the name of this man,” he said; “but see what you have done! You have spread your teaching all over Jerusalem, and you want to make us responsible for his death!”
29 Peter and the other apostles answered, “We must obey God, not men. 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from death, after you had killed him by nailing him to a cross. 31 God raised him to his right side as Leader and Savior, to give the people of Israel the opportunity to repent and have their sins forgiven. 32 We are witnesses to these things—we and the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to those who obey him.”
33 When the members of the Council heard this, they were so furious that they wanted to have the apostles put to death. 34 But one of them, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was a teacher of the Law and was highly respected by all the people, stood up in the Council. He ordered the apostles to be taken out for a while, 35 and then he said to the Council, “Fellow Israelites, be careful what you do to these men. 36 You remember that Theudas appeared some time ago, claiming to be somebody great, and about four hundred men joined him. But he was killed, all his followers were scattered, and his movement died out. 37 After that, Judas the Galilean appeared during the time of the census; he drew a crowd after him, but he also was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 And so in this case, I tell you, do not take any action against these men. Leave them alone! If what they have planned and done is of human origin, it will disappear, 39 but if it comes from God, you cannot possibly defeat them. You could find yourselves fighting against God!”
The Council followed Gamaliel’s advice. 40 They called the apostles in, had them whipped, and ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus; and then they set them free. 41 As the apostles left the Council, they were happy, because God had considered them worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of Jesus. 42 And every day in the Temple and in people’s homes they continued to teach and preach the Good News about Jesus the Messiah.
Today’s Key Verse: Acts 5:42
Every day in the Temple and in people’s homes they continued to teach and preach the Good News about Jesus the Messiah.
Reread verses 38 and 39. Do you agree with what Gamaliel says? Why or why not? Verse 41 says that the apostles “were happy, because God had considered them worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of Jesus.” Why did they feel this way? What are your thoughts about this verse?
Dear Jesus, may I experience the joy that comes from telling others about you and the Good News of your love and salvation. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and renew me each day with your precious word. Amen.
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Acts 6:1-15: Seven men are chosen to help the twelve apostles.