The Book of Acts was probably written by one of Paul’s companions, maybe his physician Luke, and is full of tales of divine intervention, miraculous conversions, and healings. The author seems to be saying, “We can carry on Jesus’s ministry!” In chapter 5, we hear about an encounter with the temple police, one way that Luke illustrates the broader animosity and threats facing the early Church. It was in the best interest of the temple police to keep Judaism the way it was, where they were in charge. Jesus had been crucified, and now they were trying to quash the remaining threads of his radical movement. The apostles were direct threats to their power.
While some call this book The Acts of the Apostles, it’s really a testament to the acts of God through the Holy Spirit and the Risen Jesus Christ. Luke attempts to wow the reader with stories of miracles and God’s continued mercy and faithfulness as the early Church experiences the growing pains of a movement trying to survive and grow without its leader. The response by the apostles in this scene reminds us that the movement, while threatened, is faithful, strong, and empowered by God. In fact, there’s a happy ending to this arrest story—via intervention by a sympathetic rabbi who spares the apostles from punishment.
• How have you felt the faithful power of God during a time that was chaotic, scary, or confusing?
• When have you come across animosity for something you believe in? How did you respond?
Photo – Inch Abbey