Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. We saw yesterday how the first Christians escaped from jail and immediately started proclaiming the same message that got them in trouble in the first place!
And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. (Acts 5:12-42 ESV)
After their escape, they were hauled before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council, because they hadn’t stopped preaching about Jesus and instead of being conciliatory, they specifically accusing the Sadducees of being complicit in Jesus’ death. Even standing before the court, Peter and the first Christians didn’t back down, but restated their message and accusation.
And not just to anyone, they are communication to this ruling council called the Sadducees, a fairly recently formed group that had a great deal of political power, made up of wealthy and educated elites.
The Sanhedrin or ruling council have figured out what Peter and friends are up to. They keep accusing the religious elite of killing Jesus. The elite have carefully cultivated an image of perfection and holiness, they are the ones who identify, accuse and punish sinners. Now this upstart Christian movement is labelling the ruling council’s Sadducees and Pharisees as sinners! They told the Christians to stop, they haven’t, and so they’re in trouble again. “You intend to bring this man’s blood upon us” they said. See how angry the Sanhedrin is – won’t even say his name – “this man’s blood” which only contrasts with the claims of Jesus’ followers, that he was much more than just a man.
They want this message to stop, but Peter can’t and won’t.
Peter says, “we must obey God rather than men” which was just another way of saying “God, not you”. And then he does it…again!!!! He gives the story in a nutshell again – God raised Jesus, and exalted him as Leader and Saviour.
He can’t keep this message to himself, even if it gets him in serious trouble.
After a dangerous argument with powerful people, the reading ended with this: Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
They just kept going!
Question: Have you met someone with a message who just can’t stop spreading the news? How do you regard them – with annoyance, respect, or a blend? How do you think the crowds, and the ruling councils regarded Peter and friends for doing the same?