Read Acts 5:22-28

v 28  We gave you strict orders never again to teach in this man’s name!” he said. “Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him, and you want to make us responsible for his death!

I would love to have seen the expressions on the faces of the guards when they opened the cell door. Houdini had nothing on these men; they got out, leaving the guards still on duty and locked the door behind them again! No wonder they were all perplexed! And then the escapees had not run away, they had gone back to the scene of their supposed crime, the Temple, and began preaching all over again.

The apostles had earlier (Acts 4:18) been instructed not to preach in Jesus’ name. This included three distinct ideas.

First, they had been teaching, claiming the authority of Jesus to do so. Jesus himself had been questioned as to where he had gained his authority to teach. (He was not a graduate of the right Jewish school!) The Apostles now claimed Jesus’ authority to teach – so no wonder the Jews questioned them.

Second, the Apostles had in effect questioned the right of the authorities to ban them from preaching. They claimed allegiance to a higher authority than the Jewish Council; that would have really got to the Jews!

Third, the Jewish leaders seemed to feel the Apostles were blaming them for Jesus’ death! (v 26) To me, this speaks something about a guilty conscience.

By the time we read down to v 33, (which we do tomorrow) we discover just how angry the members of the Council were ‘ When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them’

The Apostles were brave men, treading on all kinds of toes as they responded faithfully to the command of God to spread the good news of Jesus. In an age where political correctness holds sway and we might feel somewhat afraid to insist on the uniqueness of Christian Faith in the face of competing religious thought, how bold dare we be?

Wednesday 16th May. Daily Devotional readings from the HUB.