Evangelizing Jerusalem - Acts 5

Evangelizing Jerusalem

Acts 5:1-42

Jerusalem presented a hostile environment for the preaching of the gospel.  The apostles were told to begin their ministry there.  Acts 1:8.  It wasn't long before the high priest complained to them, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name?  And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!"  Acts 5:28.

This chapter begins with God dealing with hypocrisy in the church.  A couple, Ananias and Sapphira, lied about a gift that they had laid at the apostles' feet.  They actually lied to God, the Holy Spirit, and were struck dead.  "So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things."  Acts 5:1-11.

Next we find that "through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people."  As a result "believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women."  The sick and tormented were brought to the apostles, "and they were all healed."  Acts 5:12-16.  No doubt the miracles which took place were attributed to Jesus, and faith in His name.  See Acts 3:16; 4:10.

But not everyone was pleased.  The high priest and religious leaders of the Sadducees "were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison."  But an angel of the Lord miraculously brought them out.  He didn't say, "Run away!  Run for your lives!"  No.  The angel said, "Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life."  The apostles were set free only to return to the place where they had been apprehended.  These are the same men who forsook Jesus in Gethsemane, but they weren't the same.  Acts 5:17-25.

Once again they were brought before the high priest.  Imagine Peter standing before the religious leaders of Israel and saying, "We ought to obey God rather than men.  The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.  Him God has exalted to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins."  To our knowledge none of the council members repented.  Instead, the apostles received a beating from them, and were commanded again that they should not speak in the name of Jesus.  Acts 5:26-32.

That would have been the abrupt end of some preaching ministries, but the apostles reacted differently.  They departed from the council "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name."  So what did they do?  "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."  Acts 5:40-42.  Is it any wonder that their teaching filled Jerusalem?

 

Almighty God, we know that You would have us fill the places where we live with Your gospel.  May we do so with a holy reverence and fear for Your name.  We desire to honor You as we witness to others of Your amazing love and grace.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

Dealing with Complaints - Acts 6

 
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