|Volume 21 Number 9 September 2019||
Gary C. Hampton
The Sadducees were jealous of the apostles because the people regarded them highly and large numbers were being added to the church. The apostles had continued to preach in Jesus’ name despite an earlier warning, so they were seized and placed in common prison. God sent a messenger to release them, again proving to be more powerful than any earthly authority. The messenger commanded them to go to the Temple and preach the words that give eternal life.
The high priest called for the council to assemble and sent for the apostles. The officers came back, reporting the jail was secure but the apostles were missing. Someone came to tell them they were in the Temple teaching the people (Acts 5:17-25).
The captain and his officers brought the apostles back to the council, but without violence because they feared the people. The high priest asked why they continued to preach in Jesus’ name, which they had been strictly told not to do. The council was particularly concerned that the apostles were portraying them as responsible for the death of the innocent, despite the fact that they had earlier been willing to have that very blood on their hands (Acts 5:26-28; Matthew 27:25).
Peter and the other apostles answered, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” The implication, even for Christians today, is that no law should be considered greater than God’s law. The limits of the authority of the Sadducees had already been demonstrated by the Almighty in the resurrection of Jesus, the one they had crucified. The apostles declared that God had at that very time seated Jesus on His throne in Heaven as Ruler and Savior. The Lord had been empowered by His Father to give repentance leading to the forgiveness of sins to all of Israel. The twelve stood as witnesses of God working, and the Holy Spirit confirmed the truthfulness of the events they related through the miracles He enabled them to perform (Acts 5:29-32).
The message for us is plain. The proclamation of the death, burial and resurrection of the Savior is too important to be held in check by inferior earthly authorities. We must preach Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).
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