Acts 5 v 17 - 32

In the midst of these paragraphs of narrative, there are hidden some key words. The first is that Luke tells the reader that the reason why the apostles were arrested by the Sadducees was ENVY. They had observed what they were doing and they had responded out of a spirit of jealousy. At their core, they weren't challenged by what the apostles did or delighted that so many people were being healed, but annoyed that they could not achieve the same thing! Their envy became CONFUSION, when they heard the news that the apostles were no longer in prison, but preaching in public places again. They went to re-arrest them, but did so in a spirit of FEAR. They were worried that the crowds would riot and so acknowledged in their spirits that they were making wrong actions: why arrest people who were doing so much good? Obviously, they were now fairly powerless, as what where they to do but put the apostles back in jail? However, they still had not discovered how they escaped the first time! They attempted to cower them into obedience by presenting them before the Sanhedrin and encouraging the High Priest to question them. In doing so, they confessed to the real issue for them: that they were feeling GUILTY for crucifying an innocent man. However, Peter had never been a man to cower in the corner! Whatever his shortcomings, this was not one of them! He chooses this moment to rub salt in the religious leaders' wounds by reminding them of their guilt.

We can see vividly displayed the characteristics of these early believers:

1. They had courage. They obeyed the Holy Spirit's instruction to return to preaching immediately after being set free from prison.

2. They had principles. In all circumstances their obedience to God must come first, prioritising that over even their own safety.

3. They had a clear idea of who they were. They understood that they were witnesses of Christ, they had first-hand knowledge of Jesus, they had a testimony to give and no one was going to stop them!

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