The Apostles Heal Many People
The apostles did many signs and wonders among the people. All the believers used to meet together at Solomon’s Porch. No outsider dared to join them. But the people thought highly of them. More and more men and women believed in the Lord. They joined the other believers. So people brought those who were sick into the streets. They placed them on beds and mats. They hoped that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he walked by. Crowds even gathered from the towns around Jerusalem. They brought their sick people. They also brought those who were suffering because of evil spirits. All of them were healed.
The Apostles Are Treated Badly
The high priest and all his companions were Sadducees. They were very jealous of the apostles. So they arrested them and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord came. He opened the doors of the jail and brought the apostles out. “Go! Stand in the temple courtyard,” the angel said. “Tell the people all about this new life.”
Early the next day they did as they had been told. They entered the temple courtyard. There they began to teach the people.
The high priest and his companions arrived. They called the Sanhedrin together. The Sanhedrin was a gathering of all the elders of Israel. They sent for the apostles who were in jail. The officers arrived at the jail. But they didn’t find the apostles there. So they went back and reported it. “We found the jail locked up tight,” they said. “The guards were standing at the doors. But when we opened the doors, we didn’t find anyone inside.” When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report, they were bewildered. They wondered what would happen next.
Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courtyard. They are teaching the people.” So the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles back. But they didn’t use force. They were afraid the people would kill them by throwing stones at them.
They brought the apostles to the Sanhedrin. The high priest questioned them. “We gave you clear orders not to teach in Jesus’ name,” he said. “But you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching. You want to make us guilty of this man’s death.”
Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God instead of people! You had Jesus killed by nailing him to a cross. But the God of our people raised Jesus from the dead. Now Jesus is Prince and Savior. God has proved this by giving Jesus a place of honor with him. He did it to turn Israel away from their sins and forgive them. We are telling people about these things. And so is the Holy Spirit. God has given the Spirit to those who obey him.”
When the leaders heard this, they became very angry. They wanted to put the apostles to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel stood up in the Sanhedrin. He was a teacher of the law. He was honored by all the people. He ordered the apostles to be taken outside for a little while. Then Gamaliel spoke to the Sanhedrin. “Men of Israel,” he said, “think carefully about what you plan to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared. He claimed he was really somebody. About 400 people followed him. But he was killed. All his followers were scattered. So they accomplished nothing. After this, Judas from Galilee came along. This was in the days when the Romans made a list of all the people. Judas led a gang of men against the Romans. He too was killed. All his followers were scattered. So let me give you some advice. Leave these men alone! Let them go! If their plans and actions only come from people, they will fail. But if their plans come from God, you won’t be able to stop these men. You will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
His speech won the leaders over. They called the apostles in and had them whipped. The leaders ordered them not to speak in Jesus’ name. Then they let the apostles go.
The apostles were full of joy as they left the Sanhedrin. They considered it an honor to suffer shame for the name of Jesus. Every day they taught in the temple courtyards and from house to house. They never stopped telling people the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.