4/16/16 Nothing Can Get In The Way Of God’s Will

Representatives of the Sanhedrin have been watching the apostles carefully.  They see how the church is growing every day, not just in Jerusalem and surrounding cities, but even in other countries, as foreign visitors to Jerusalem hear the apostles proclaiming Jesus’ message and carry it home to their friends and families.  They are becoming more and more nervous about this whole thing, and more and more anxious to find a way to make it stop.  The Sadducees, especially, are offended by the apostles.  Sadducees do not believe in resurrection after death.  They believe that death is final, and nothing comes after death.  But here are these apostles who have the audacity to proclaim to all who will listen to them that Jesus has been resurrected from the dead and that all who put their faith in Him will also be resurrected upon their death to eternal life in Heaven.  Caiaphas, the High Priest, as a Sadducee, is furious.  Finally, after nobody has been able to come up with a practical way to deal with these people, he says, “Just arrest them!  Lock them up so that they cannot speak!”  The Temple guards seize the opportunity the next time all the apostles are together in Solomon’s porch.  All of them are arrested and put into the city prison.  The guards in charge are given strict instruction to let nobody have any contact with them.  But God has no intention of letting the Sadducees silence the apostles.  In the middle of the night, an angel comes to the prison.  He temporarily blinds and deafens the guards, opens the cell doors, and helps the apostles to slip out unnoticed.  “Do not stop proclaiming the message Jesus gave you to proclaim, because these are the words of life for people at death’s door.  Go back in the morning and continue!” the angel tells them.  In the morning, the apostles return to Solomon’s porch and resume their daily teaching as if nothing has happened.  Caiaphas, oblivious to this, calls a meeting of the Sanhedrin and orders the guards to bring the apostles to him from the prison.  The guards get an unpleasant surprise when they arrive at the prison.  Filled with dread, they return to report to Caiaphas, “We went to the prison.  The doors, outer and inner, were locked tight.  The guards claim that nobody went in or out at all and they were vigilant at their posts.  Even the cell doors were locked.  But there was nobody inside.”  Caiaphas’ face turns white with a combination of fury and fear.  But before he has a chance to say a word, a messenger hurries in and exclaims, “Those men you had arrested are back in Solomon’s porch, teaching the people again!”  Caiaphas turns to the captain of the guard and says, “Bring them here, now!”  The Temple guards go and surround the apostles, but knowing that the people thronging the Temple are sympathetic to the apostles, they do not arrest the men.  They ask the apostles to come with them and stand before the Sanhedrin, and the apostles consent.  When they are assembled before the Sanhedrin, Caiaphas asks them, “Did we or did we not command you to never speak to the people in the name of that blasphemer again?  And now you are telling the people that we are guilty of His murder, and are teaching them His message!”  Peter steps forward and says, “If it is a choice between obeying men or God, we must choose to obey God.  Our God and your God, the God of our ancestors, sent Jesus to us as our Messiah, and after you had Him nailed to a tree to be killed, that same God raised Him from the dead and then lifted Him up to Heaven where He now sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.  This Jesus who you had crucified is the one and only sacrifice great enough to save all of Israel once and for all from our sins.  We are His witnesses, and now God has given us His Holy Spirit to be a further witness to His Truth.  And God will give His Holy Spirit to all who trust in Him and are obedient to Him.”

 

Acts 5:17-32

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