Wednesday, April 29, 2015
“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, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison” (Acts 5:17,18 KJV).
Oh, man’s shameful treatment of God’s faithful apostles!
For several months now, Peter and the 11 other apostles of Israel have been preaching to their Jewish brethren, pleading with them to trust Jesus as their Messiah, that they not be consumed in His wrath when He returns. The Holy Spirit has been working mightily in and through these 12 men: they have performed various healing miracles, confirming the kingdom message that they are preaching (Mark 16:17-20; Hebrews 2:3-5; et al.).
Israel’s religious leaders know the apostles’ activities threaten their organization. In the chapter previous to today’s Scripture, Israel’s religious leaders “commanded [the apostles] not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (verse 18). Peter wisely answered, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (verses 19,20). The apostles were further threatened but not imprisoned.
Today’s Scripture is some time later, after many other healing miracles occurred, after many other sermons about Jesus Christ have been preached. Israel’s religious leaders arrest the apostles and throw them into prison. Not the prison for political or elite wrongdoers, but the “common prison.” The apostles are thrown into a dangerous environment. The worst criminals—the murderers, rapists, et cetera—are in the “common prison” with them! God certainly had His eyes on these dear Israeli apostles. In fact, they miraculously survived that “common prison” until the angel of the Lord came by night to release them (verse 19)!
Israel’s apostles went on from the common prison to preach again to the common people. Praise God that they were not bitter or slack. Despite their persecution, they preached their hearts out. Nothing could keep them from talking about the Messiahship of Jesus. They eventually gave up their lives for Him! Beloved, surely, in light of what these men faced for Jesus Christ, we can endure name-calling and ostracism! 🙂