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
Don’t miss the flow of the rest of the story! It is important and yet told so simply with an economy of words.
Notice the flow of the story from this point. Luke is sublime in his storytelling, with three quick strokes of the pen he delivers the coup de grace:
- 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.
It is masterful, inspired I am sure, by Him who writes His story.
One person asked me if I meant “His story” or did I mean to write “history”. A good question my man. It was deliberate. There was subtlety there. You see when God writes His story it is history. There was a subtlety in the message, just as there is a subtlety in Luke’s message to us.
As soon as these apostles (the humble disciples have now become Apostles) could, they headed for the Temple, of all places, the work place of Sanhedrin, to begin teaching as soon as they could. They were simply doing as they were told. When you are told by an angel to do something, then you do it with all your might and passion. Interesting, yesterday in a devotional book I am using I had a reading, “Be Sure to Go to Sword Practice”. Rick Renner’s point was that “Take the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” Eph 6:17 uses the word “rhema” and not the word “logos”. That is hugely significant. It is the difference between the general written word of God vs the specific quickened word of God by the Holy Spirit. “A genuine rhema from God doesn’t have to be 6 pages long to be effective against the enemy”. When the Holy Spirit or an angel tells you something, really tells you something, you don’t need second bidding. You go off and do it as soon as you are able.
So these Apostles go to the Temple at daybreak. They were there bright and early, itching to get started and they did as they were told. “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life.” They didn’t stop to doubt. They didn’t question the angel asking, “Why the Temple?” “Angel don’t you know that’s where the religious leaders are?” “If we go there they will surely know we are there. Last time we were there, they found out straight away. That is not a healthy place for us to be. Could we go to the other side of the city from the Temple and teach there?” No, there was none of that. They just did as they were told, in the place they were told to go to. Let God worry about the fallout.
Notice the High Priest and his officials arrived later. They were totally oblivious to the fact that the Apostles were in the Temple courtyard preaching and teaching their hearts out. All 12 of them. You would think it would be hard for them to miss the fact. But it appears they were walking around with their heads in the clouds – in more ways than one. They were ignorant of God’s word despite the fact that they had studied it for years. Clearly their inspiration was not via the Holy Spirit of God. They got their input from their own understanding. The very thing God told them (and us) not to do – Prov 3:5-6. How could they have missed a band of twelve Apostles camped on the doorstep of their office at the time when the people had gathered to pray? It ought to have been impossible. I wondered upon reading thiscarefully, if they went straight to “their office” or their inner sanctum to have their own holy huddle. They were certainly not where the people were in the temple courts. Notice the angel told the Apostles to go the Temple and give the people this message of life. He could have said, Go to the temple and tell the leaders, but there seems no point doing that. They are not listening anyway. They have their own agenda.
Now notice how this short story intensifies and adds a sharp note of irony. After the High Priest and his officials had convened their HIGH council, the full assembly of the elders of Israel, they called for the Apostles to be brought from jail. Pardon me! You mean the full assembly of all the elders of Israel are all gathered in the Board Room and all of them have missed the fact that the TWELVE Apostles are camped in their backyard with all the people who have come for the early morning prayer meeting? How could they miss that fact? Clearly none of them have had any contact with the people of Jerusalem on the way to their meeting. I am sure if they had, the news would have been relayed to them immediately. Not one of them passed by the Court of the People. All of them werehell benton having this meeting to deal with the threat of these Apostles. Not one of them was aware these Apostles had been brought to them. This story is dripping with irony.
Furthermore it gets worse. In their ignorance behind closed doors, these supreme leaders of Israel who are supposedly in touch with God, command the Apostles be brought from prison. Of course that is where the Apostles are. No one would suspect otherwise. No one gets out of the Temple jail without permission. They are locked in there with the Temple Guard watching over them – aren’t they? Actually they are no longer in the jail. The angel let them out and told them where to go next. You will find them in the Temple Courts you buffoons. Just ask the Holy Spirit, He will tell you. Oh yes of course you can’t, can you, because you don’t believe in Jesus and the One who has become His Advocate / Comforter. You leaders of Israel are in the dark big time, such that you don’t even know what is before your eyes.
Stop working for profit and start working for a purpose!Anon
The people who do the things that count never stop to count the things they do.Anon
You have to pray in the dark so you can shine in the light!Anon
It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.Edward De Bono
If you saw the size of the blessing coming, you would understand the magnitude of the battle you are fighting.Ruth Hany