I have to wonder how frustrated and irritated the Jewish leaders dealing with the apostles must have been. Jesus was crucified, and now His followers are claiming that He rose from the dead. Not only that, but they are gathering thousands of followers, and fast.
In the readings of the second week of Easter, (Acts 4:23-37, 5:17-6:7), Peter and John are arrested and put into prison. In true Easter style, an angel opens the door and lets them out to continue preaching.
Can you imagine how frustrated the chief priests and elders must have been? Can’t anyone stay where they put them?
So they try again, bringing Peter and John back in and warning them not to preach anymore. Or else.
And it still doesn’t work. Peter answers, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” He’s not the least bit afraid of them – the ones who killed this Jesus that he proclaims boldly. No, he’s not afraid at all.
Finally, Gamaliel warns the council that they should just leave the whole thing alone. If it’s of human origin, it will fail eventually. If it isn’t, then they could be fighting against God and they are never, ever going to win that one.
Not to be completely defeated, the council has Peter and John flogged, order them to stop preaching, and release them. The apostles leave celebrating because they could suffer for Christ.
Seriously. They celebrated. That’s not at all what the council was going for. Infuriating.
It makes me think. It really is frustrating when we fight against God. It is fruitless and pointless to ignore and deny a truth that we don’t want to hear. We all do it, don’t we? We hear a teaching that is hard to live, so we’ll just deny that it’s true. We see somebody we need to love and it’s just not easy, so we’ll leave it alone.
We could live like Peter instead. Stand tall, step into the Holy Spirit, do what God is asking, and watch door after door get opened.
Who would you rather be?