v 31 Then God put him in the place of honour at his right hand as Prince and Saviour. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven.
So now the Apostles go beyond just announcing the resurrection of Jesus to speaking about his ascension to power and honour in the presence of God, and his role as a Prince and Saviour of Israel. This is heady stuff! The crucified carpenter-cum-preacher, they insist, is in fact exalted in Heaven at God’s right hand. And there is more! The purpose behind Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is that people should repent of their sins and be forgiven. Can’t you just feel the hackles rising! ‘You ignorant, lower class, Galilean fishermen; how dare you talk to us like that. We know all about our Jewish faith, we are the experts!. Blood is at boiling point, and the execution of the Apostles is the only way out. Then it needed a Pharisee named Gamaliel to strike a wise warning note. (Remember, it was the Pharisees who believed in the possibility of resurrection. And it was this same Gamaliel who taught the Apostle Paul, ‘I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs.’ Acts 22:3)
So the Apostles were released after being flogged, and once again forbidden to preach. We can only admire the courage and persistent determination of the Apostles to remain faithful to their calling.
Lord, give us the courage to persevere in announcing the Gospel of Jesus, and I ask that people around will respond in faith to following the Saviour who offers forgiveness and life in all its fullness. AMEN