Not Where They Expected

Early Church

With the coming of the church with great power on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2, it was inevitable that at some point the apostles and early church would come into conflict with the religious leaders in Jerusalem. These religious leaders had believed they had defeated the followers of Jesus with His crucifixion, but instead an entire new body was being formed in their very city. And this new body was growing, three thousand men on the first day, and more day by day.

In response to this, a contingent of guards were sent to quiet Peter and John as they were publicly preaching to the people and had them thrown into jail. Despite this, the body grew to about five thousand (Acts 4:4). The next day they were brought before the Sanhedrin to be interrogated and chastised. In response, Peter boldly stated that following God was more important than following man (Acts 4:19, 20). Eventually, they were warned not to preach about the name and released (4:17, 21).

Sometime later the religious leaders learned that the apostles were refusing to obey their rebuke and were proclaiming Jesus publicly. In response, they had all the apostles put into jail (Acts 5:18), but an angel came and freed them that evening (5:19ff). When it was discovered that they all had escaped from the jail, it must have caused some confusion.

What Would You Expect?

Thinking like man, where would you expect someone who has escaped from jail to be? One possibility would be fleeing from the city and heading to a different land. It would seem reasonable to put as much distance between yourself and your captor. Another possibility would be hiding out somewhere in the city, perhaps by an accomplice. It is possible these religious leaders were considering assembling some kind of search among known followers of Christ.

However, in what likely came as a great surprise, they did not have to search long for where the apostles were, because the apostles were in public sight teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ as had been commanded to them. This had to be the absolutely last place they would expect to find the apostles. It was also really the only place the apostles could be, if they were choosing to follow God.

Consider the boldness of being arrested, brought before the highest court of the land, ordered to specifically not speak the name of Jesus, then released. To preach that name anyway, but arrested and jailed, and once more released. Would you return to the public and preach the only name by which man can be saved (Acts 4:12)?

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