Persecution was the normal reaction to people preaching in the early days of Christianity. The disciples of Jesus had been through some seismic times. After the shock of the death of Jesus, the trauma of the days following when they could only imagine that any moment there would be a knock at the door. They would be the next to be hauled off and tried for treason.
But the unbelievable had happened! Jesus had been seen many times Alive! Back from the dead! Peter had seen him, John had seen him, Mary had seen him and to crown it all another 500 people had seen all at one time. There was no chance it was a hallucination! People don't hallucinate in groups.
Is this what gave them the courage to preach and tell people about Jesus.
Jesus had not only healed people and raised the dead in his lifetime, he had beaten death and returned to life to demonstrate that all he had taught and claimed was true!
What a message, what a testimony, what an offer!Forgiveness for past errors and the hope of eternal life. It's no wonder they were fearless and brave.
In Acts 5, when they were in Prison, God sent a messenger to them to tell them to get back out and preach the 'words of life'. The Gospel of God concerning his Son, Jesus, It's so important that nothing should get in its way. The message about Jesus, his death and resurrection produces life and people need to hear it!
The authorities were shocked to discover that the men they had warned not to preach were back on the job - they were preaching again. Their maxim for life was 'we ought to obey God rather than men'. Christians should never be anarchists but they have an over-riding obligation to obey God and the teaching of His word. Normally this will not put them in conflict with the authorities but where the authorities forbid Christians from practising their faith we have an obligation to obey God rather than men!
Later in the day they called a council meeting to interview the disciples. When they discovered that they were out on the streets preaching again they were alerted to the fact that there might be more to the Christian message than at first meets the eye.
The message isn't exactly a popular one!
1. We are all sinners
2. God holds us responsible for our actions.
3. There will be a future day of reckoning for everyone.
That's the downside, the reality check!
What's the upside!
1. God sent his Son to our world
2. He lived a beautiful life
3. Being perfect in his character he qualified to take the punishment from God on our behalf
4. God accepted the sacrificial death of Jesus as payment for sin
5. All who trust Jesus will be forgiven for wrong and credited with an acceptable standing before God.
This has always been a life changing message. It still is!
But like anything of value the offer needs to be acted upon. It won't just happen!
You can only benefit from God's offer of salvation by personally accepting it. If you pray to God confessing your sin and you 'believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved'.
To access podcasts and videos explaining the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ visit www.seekthetruth.org.uk
This site will give you access to Bible Teaching Audio's and Video's as well.
All posts have the aim of pointing people to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour or to aid Christian growth and development.
Acts 5King James Version (KJV)
12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.
13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told,
23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.
24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.
29 Then 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 ye slew and hanged on a tree.
31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
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.