I noticed a couple things I haven’t noticed before reading chapter 5. We just read about Peter and John being arrested for healing the the lame man (4:3). They went to trial for that but were released with a stern warning, no punishment. (4:21)
So, today when I read that the apostles got beaten (5:40), I assumed it was just Peter and John again. However, it wasn’t just those two, it was all twelve!
This is why I think that:
- “Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Soloman’s Portico.” (5:12)
- The jealous priests and Sadducees arrested the apostles and put them in public prison. (vs.18)
Ha! Imagine the angel leading 12 men out of the prison secretively! I had always pictured it was just two….but 12?! No wonder the captain of the guard and the chief priests were greatly perplexed! (vs. 24)
3. “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than man.” (vs 29)
No wonder Gamaliel suggested not to kill the 12 men. That would have been a lot of blood on their hands!
4. They called in the apostles , they beat them and charged them…”
Now I have a better picture of the scene when they all leave, having been beaten. In unison, all 12 felt the same thing. They rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” (5: 41) The name of the person they followed for three years of their lives!
I can’t help but think that this is a good example of why Christians should stay in fellowship with like minded believers. Suffering together helps strengthen one’s resolve to stay on course and encourages others to do the same.
By the way, did you notice the name Gamaliel? That name will come up again. He was Paul’s teacher! (22:3)