Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Acts 5: 21b-24

Summary retelling of Acts 5:21b-24:

The high priests get up the next day and assume it is business as usual.  They get the council together and they summon for the prisoners to be brought to them out from the prison.  The guards go check the prison, and in spite of the doors being locked and secured the disciples are not to be found in the prison where they had been locked up the prior night.  The chief temple guard and the soldiers under him begin to worry a good bit about what is going to happen to them since the disciples were under their care.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
Back in the Roman days, guards were traditionally granted the punishment that their captive deserved should the captive person escape.  Given that there were a bunch of disciples, we’re not talking about a single punishment but a host of punishments.  No doubt that the guards knew that the disciples might be tried for blasphemy and heresy – and they no doubt remember that Jesus was crucified for such offenses. 

Is there any wonder the guards began to worry and be panicked when they heard the disciples weren’t to be found?  Have you been in a situation where you might be held responsible for something that you weren’t responsible for (or even aware of) the results?

Second Thought:
Given this consequence, remember that yesterday we saw the Holy Spirit tell the disciples to not run away but go to the Temple and proclaim what had happened.

Why do you think the Holy Spirit told the disciples to show up in the Temple courts rather than run away?  How are the Temple guards likely to respond once they realize that even though the disciples miraculously escaped, they didn’t run far away?

Third Thought:
Returning to the beginning of the passage, notice that the Jewish leaders still live under the pretense that they are in control.  They get up like normal. They assemble the court as normal.  They are living as though they are large and in charge and there is no reason to expect anything new to happen.  For the record, they are completely caught off guard by the disciples’ escape.

Do you ever live a day or two as though you don’t expect anything to happen?  Have you ever heard of the concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy?  In what way can our expectation to experience nothing out of the ordinary become a self-fulfilling prophecy with respect to us being able to see God at work in our life?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 5:25-27
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