I love these stories – about how angels come and break people out of prison – but the best parts are always when the “bad guys” discover they are gone! I just want to be there to see their faces, you know?
So, next day, the high priest calls the council together and all the senate for this big event…the auditorium is packed. There is a low rumble of voices as the high priest – all large and in charge – sends for the prisons. Wait for it, wait for it…when the officers return…
“We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.”
The chief priests and company were perplexed? Really – perplexed? Quizzically scratching their heads? Actually “thoroughly having no way out – at a loss”. And wondering – what now? Enter the messenger to report the lost prisoners have been found standing in the temple and teaching the people!
Now they send for them politely for they were afraid of being stoned by the people. To say the leaders were feeling a little unpopular might be an understatement. Stoned is pretty extreme.
The questioning begins: “Didn’t we tell you not to teach about Jesus? And more over you are blaming us for his death?”
Peter and the apostles were fearless in their response:
“We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
That pretty much covers it…
I am awed by the apostles’ confidence. They did have a clear message and they were on the rebound of just being busted out of jail so they could go give it but still. It did seem like a suicide mission and now they are busted again. But they do not cave – not an inch – don’t even tone down the message! They are facing the same guys that did in fact have Jesus crucified and it could happen to them as well. They didn’t budge. This has to be the power of the Holy Spirit in them. (How willing or able am I to stand firm even if it only means being rejected or made fun of or pitied much less martyred?)
God exalted Jesus as Leader and Savior, to give forgiveness of sins.
Seek God’s approval rather than man’s and the power of the Holy Spirit will sustain you.
About the World?
Everywhere we go there is somebody who wants to know.