Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 5:22-42
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 5:22-25
vs22-23: When the Council’s designated representatives arrived at the prison they discovered the prisoners were not in their cells and immediately they returned with this report, “We found the prison itself completely locked, with every area secured, and the guards still standing at their posts by the door of each cell. But once the doors were opened we found no one inside” (paraphrase). v24: As they listened to these words the captain of the temple guard and the high priests were completely at a loss as to how to respond. They were stunned, wondering what was going to happen next. v25: In the midst of this confusion, someone arrived and reported, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple and teaching the people.”

Monday: Acts 5:26-28
v26: Immediately, the captain of the guard, along with those who had originally been sent to retrieve the prisoners, went down to the temple courtyard to summon the apostles to appear before the Council. This time they asked them to voluntarily accompany them, taking care to avoid using force because they were afraid of provoking a violent reaction by the huge crowd that had been listening to the preaching. The general attitude in the city toward the apostles was, at this point, so favorable that they feared they might be stoned if they handled them violently. vs27-28: Once again the apostles were placed in front of a large semi-circle of seated elders. As they stood there, the high priest took it upon himself to interrogate them. He began by pointing out that they had defied the Council’s previous command (Ac 4:18, 21). He said, “We specifically ordered you not to teach people to believe upon this name (of Jesus), and now look at what you’ve done, you’ve filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you’re trying to convince people that we’re criminals, guilty of murdering this man (Jesus)” (paraphrase).

Tuesday: Acts 5:29-34
vs29-32: Peter, along with all the apostles, answered him this way, “It’s necessary to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you took with your own hands, hanging Him on a wooden stake (Ac 10:39; 13:27-29). He is our Ruler (author, source) and Savior, and God highly exalted Him to His right hand in order to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these events that we proclaim, as is the Holy Spirit whom God gave to those who obey Him” (paraphrase). vs33-34: Those who were listening were cut deeply by these words, and fully intended to kill them. In the midst of the uproar, a certain member of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee named Gamaliel (Hebrew: Gamliel), who was a teacher of the Law, honored by the entire nation, stood to his feet and ordered that the men be taken out of the room so the Council could talk privately about the matter.

Wednesday: Acts 5:35-38
vs35-37: He said to them, “Men, Israelites, watch out, you may bring trouble upon yourselves by what you are about to do to these men.” Then he reminded them of two previous insurrections which had died out without the Sanhedrin having to be involved. One had been led by a man named Theudas who gathered to himself a group of 400 men, but was killed and his followers dispersed. The other had been led by a man named Judas of Galilee who was outraged by the census Caesar Augustus imposed on them in A.D. 6 (Lk 2:1-3) (F.F. Bruce, Acts, Eerdmans, 1974, p125). That man also perished and his followers were scattered. v38: Then Gamaliel’s integrity really shone through. He introduced a note of doubt into the room by suggesting that it was possible that this movement was of God. He didn’t say that it was, but by simply asking the question he implied that he, a very prominent teacher of the Law, was not yet sure of the answer. In other words, in his own mind there was still a possibility that God was helping them.

Thursday: Acts 5:38, 39
v38 (continued): Any honest observer would have come to the same conclusion, but at that time there was a core of people around the high priest, particularly among the Sadducees, who refused to be moved, even by a resurrection (Mt 28:11-15), an unexplainable healing (Ac 4:14-16, 22), or this miraculous release from prison which had just taken place (Ac 5:22-24). By standing up and speaking out, Gamaliel halted what had become a lynch mob. He ordered everyone to “stand back and leave these men alone” because, he said, if this movement was only the result of human plans or efforts it would fall apart and collapse. v39: But if it came from God, if He were the One who had willed these things to happen, if it were His power that was at work among them, then, warned Gamaliel, “You will never be able to destroy them and you might be found fighting against God” (literal). And they were persuaded by him.

Friday: Acts 5:40
v40: The apostles were called back into the room and flogged for disobeying the Sanhedrin’s previous command (Ac 4:18, 21), which means the high priest made them lie down on the ground and had them whipped on their bare backs, up to 40 times, while he oversaw the process (Dt 25:2, 3; 2Co 11:24). When the punishment was finished they were once again commanded “not to speak upon the name of Jesus” (literal), and then released. Gamaliel’s advice to the Council had been to leave the men alone because God would stop the movement if it were not from Him. But the high priest, and Sadducees who supported him, refused to entertain even the slightest doubt that Jesus might have been raised from the dead. Nor was he willing to let the apostles go unpunished. Gamaliel had intervened and prevented him from getting the consensus he needed to stone them, but he made sure they were beaten and given another command to stop preaching Jesus. And undoubtedly he added threats, though none were mentioned.

Saturday: Acts 5:41, 42
v41: The apostles left the Council chamber rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to be dishonored for the name of Jesus, they were experiencing exactly what He said would happen (Mt 10:17; Mk 13:9; Lk 12:11; 21:12-19; Jn 15:20, 21; 16:2-4). Undoubtedly, they remembered He also said that when people insulted, persecuted and lied about them they should “rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Mt 5:11, 12). So as painful and humiliating as that experience must have been, it confirmed to them that they were on the right track. It meant there was enough “salt” in their words (Mt 5:13) and “light” in their deeds to provoke a backlash. v42: After they were released they picked up where they had left off, preaching and teaching Jesus as the Messiah, with possibly a slight adjustment in their routine. In Acts 2:42-46 the pattern seems to be that the apostles would teach at the temple gatherings, but meals and prayer took place in homes. But here, Luke’s wording shifts slightly to say that the apostles were teaching and preaching in the temple, but also in the homes. They may have begun circulating through the home meetings because they recognized that the conflict developing at the temple might mean that in the near future it would no longer be safe to gather there. In fact, that day would arrive quite soon (Ac 6:7-9; 8:1) 

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