17 But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy 18 they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” 21 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.
Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
These poor guys. First, they were accused of being drunk when the Holy Spirit was doing one of the most exciting things ever, and now they are thrown in jail because of all of these healings.
Step out of that story for a minute, and your own, and take a look at what is going on. There are works of power, unexplainable miracles, and the people receiving the miracles are praising God.
They are not embracing sin, but they are doing some things a little bit off of tradition. Some people call going off tradition sin, but that’s not quite right, is it?
They are worshiping and praising God when they are healed, but they are also praising this guy Jesus. Ok, that is full-on idolatry if Jesus isn’t God, because there is only one God.
So if people are praising God for these miracles, and the goal of the High Priest is to help people interact with God, shouldn’t he be interested in what is going on?
Or what about all of us? If we are longing to help people draw near to God, shouldn’t we at least be interested when something happens that is amazing, and maybe unexplainable, and it causes people to worship God?
I know that’s not my default setting. I’m more likely to say “a bunch of weirdos” rather than “let’s see how God is moving among these people.”
Look at how kind and gracious God deals with the High Priest’s jealousy.
He doesn’t strike him or curse him. God continues His work in spite of the priest. The fact is, at this point, the High Priest is doing a good job of showing that he is no longer needed.
The boldness the High Priest had by authority passed down from Moses is now irrelevant compared to the boldness given by the Holy Spirit to every believer — even Galilean fishermen!
The righteous lifestyle of the High Priest is no longer as important to God as the lifestyle of the righteous that live by faith in the resurrected Christ. The power to bind up and set free has been taken from the priesthood of the priests, and given to the priesthood of all believers.
So with boldness, Peter and John go back to it, and we read along and wait for God’s punchline to reach out to the High Priest.
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