Acts 5:29, 38-39—”But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men’.
38-39 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,”
The apostles went from place to place to teach the gospel of Jesus and also did many signs and wonders regularly: they healed the sick, delivered people from unclean spirits, etc. People held them in high esteem and multitudes were moved to believe in God. The Sadducees and high priests were jealous of this popularity and had them imprisoned. At night the Lord’s angel opened the jail doors and said, “Go, stand in the temple courts and tell the people all about this new life.”
Next day the Sanhedrin (the full assembly of the elders of Israel) did not find the apostles in the jail but at the temple courts teaching the people. (The jail was securely locked with the guards standing at the doors; but they found no one inside.)
They asked “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
Gamaliel spoke while the elders were furious to the point of having Peter killed. “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
The elders had them flogged, ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left rejoicing because they were counted worthy of suffering disgrace for Jesus. They never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
What do we get from this scripture?
1-Apostles went about doing what we believers are asked to do, tell all about Jesus’ gospel.
2-While doing God’s work they were empowered by the Holy Spirit and also had God’s presence with them to be able to do signs and wonders. If we follow in God’s steps, we will also enjoy the presence of God and the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
3-They obeyed God’s will (spoken through the angel) and also chose God’s will over the direction of the elders despite the consequences. We believers must also learn to keep God as our priority over all other areas in our life.
4-Because the apostles stood for God in all they did, God stood by them through their work. God freed them from jail; God convicted all the elders through one man to set them free, inspite of hating them to the point of having them killed.
Know this, God is on our side. If we trust in Him and do what He wills:
– no door that God opens for us can be shut anyone, be it our friend or enemy; whatever God does, man cannot dispose
– no door that God closes for us can be opened by man; even we should not try to open a door shut by God because that is how God delivers us from our future peril.
(Refer: Acts 5:17-42)