The Bridge: A Curious Connection
As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.Acts 5:15-16
The Result of the Sadducees Jealousy
The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.Acts 5:17-18
But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out. Then he told them, “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!” So at daybreak the apostles entered the Temple, as they were told, and immediately began teaching. When the high priest and his officials arrived, they convened the high council—the full assembly of the elders of Israel. Then they sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail for trial.Acts 5:19-21
An Ironic Twist
But when the Temple guards went to the jail, the men were gone. So they returned to the council and reported, “The jail was securely locked, with the guards standing outside, but when we opened the gates, no one was there!” When the captain of the Temple guard and the leading priests heard this, they were perplexed, wondering where it would all end. Then someone arrived with startling news: “The men you put in jail are standing in the Temple, teaching the people!” The captain went with his Temple guards and arrested the apostles, but without violence, for they were afraid the people would stone them.Acts 5::22-26
Before the Council Again for More of the Same
Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them. “Didn’t we tell you never again to teach in this man’s name?” he demanded. “Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about Him, and you want to make us responsible for His death!” But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed Him by hanging Him on a cross. Then God put Him in the place of honour at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey Him.” When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them.Acts 5::27-33
But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while. Then he said to his colleagues, “Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men! Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing. After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered. “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”Acts 5::34-39
Rejoicing After a Flogging
The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”Acts 5:40-42
I have divided the text into units for you but actually all of what follows is one sense unit in that it all hangs together with some remarkable emphases and innuendoes, which we will investigate as we go through it. Now we need to ask our questions to help us understand why Luke has compiled the story as he has. As I asked my questions I was surprised by the way this section has been constructed. Notice the little words which connect this section with what has gone before it. “As a result of the apostles’ work” – what work? Luke, do you mean what Peter did with what happened to Ananias and Sapphira? Because that is all we have before this segment to go on. Or is he using this statement as a general summary. Either way it is surprising because the Ananias and Sapphira incident is included and regarded as the apostle’s work with it’s juxtaposition to this summary statement.
Notice the various ways the translations handle the connection.
- (AMP) So that they [even] kept carrying out the sick into the streets and placing them on couches and sleeping pads, [in the hope] that as Peter passed by, at least his shadow might fall on some of them.
- (ASV, KJV) in so much that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that, as Peter came by, at the least his shadow might overshadow some one of them.
- (BBE, MSG, TLV, WEBA) And they even took into the streets people who were ill, and put them on beds, so that when Peter went by, some of them might be in his shade.
- (ERV) So the people brought those who were sick into the streets and put them on little beds and mats. They were hoping that Peter’s shadow might fall on them as he walked by.
- (ESV, LEB) So that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them.
- (GNB, GW, ISV, NIV, NLT) As a result, people carried their sick into the streets. They placed them on stretchers and cots so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some sick people as he went by.
- (JUB) So much so that they brought forth the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
- (LITV, MKJV) so as to carry out the sick in the streets, and to place them on cots and mattresses, that at the coming of Peter, if even his shadow might overshadow some of them.
- (NASB) to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them.
- (RV) insomuch that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that, as Peter came by, at the least his shadow might overshadow some one of them.
Yes, it is clear that what happened after the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira was that there was a positive response to God and people came flocking to Him. Oh, initially for healing it is true but also to have their lives cleaned up. I know that is true because it is what happened in my life too. You soon begin to realise you can trust God in everything – in the good and the bad.
Now you have to admit that is remarkable. Do you have such trust in Him that you are willing to accept the “bad” and the “discipline” as well as His “blessing” and “favour”?
The Bridge: A Curious Connection
As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.
The Result of the Sadducees Jealousy
The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.
My questions for these two segments:
- Does the apostles’ work include Peter’s handling of Ananias’ and Sapphira’s deceit?
- Is the reference to healing as a result of Peter’s shadow falling across them, superstition or a reference to what happened?
- Why are the Sadducees highlighted in the way they are?
- What are they jealous over? Another curious connection? Is “Jealousy” really meant here?
- What are the apostles being arrested for?
- How many apostle’s were arrested?
Our own ideas count for nothing in comparison to your eternal truth. Give us your ideas, King Jesus.Lavonia Grabau
Never waste your time trying to explain who you are to people who are committed to misunderstanding you.Anon
Successful people tolerate critics to teach facts of life that conflict with the beliefs of unsuccessful people.Ian Vail
God is always speaking, but we are not always paying attention.Anon
We are grateful to you, God, for not giving us what we really deserve, but instead giving us Jesus.Anon