Theme Number 19 Persecution No. 2
The Crowds came especially to Jerusalem bringing their sick and those who were demon possessed, and ALL were healed by the Apostles.5:16.
The High Priests and his associates especially the Sadducees [ modern-day scepticsted ] were filled with jealousy and arrested the Apostles and put them in the public jail. But an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out saying,
“Go stand in the Temple courts, and tell the people the FULL MESSAGE of this NEW LIFE.”5:20
At day break they did just that.
The Shock at the Jail that morning.
The Sanhedrin gathered [the full assembly of the Jewish rulers] and sent for the Apostles. The Captain of Guard reported, “ We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no-one inside. “ v 24 This really puzzled them and they wondered what would become of this.
Someone said, The men you put in jail are in the Temple courts teaching the people. They had them brought in quietly for questioning from the Sanhedrin.
The High Priest spoke up saying, “ We gave you strict orders not to teach in that name. You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” v.28
The Reply of the Apostles to their persecutors. Act_5:18, Act_5:33, Act_5:40.
“We must obey God rather than men.” Then they went on to preach Jesus to the Sanhedrin.
Act 5:30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.
Act 5:31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Act 5:32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."
When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. Then Gamaliel spoke up and calmed them down saying that if this was from god they would not be able to stop it.
1. We must obey God rather than men. This brings up the question of Civil disobedience.
Question: "When is civil disobedience allowed for a Christian?" by www.gotquestions.org
Answer: The emperor of Rome from A.D. 54 to 68 was Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, also known simply as Nero. The emperor was not known for being a godly person and engaged in a variety of illicit acts, homosexual marriage being among them. In 64 A.D., the great Roman fire occurred with Nero himself being suspected of the act of arson. In his writings, the Roman senator and historian Tacitus recorded: "To get rid of the report [that he had started the fire], Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace" (Annals XV).
It was during the reign of Nero that the Apostle Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans. While one might expect him to encourage the Christians in Rome to rise up against their oppressive ruler, in the chapter 13, we find this instead:
“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor ” (Romans 13:1–7). compare 2 Peter 2 :13-17
A Brief Look at the Various Views of Civil Disobedience
There are at least three general positions on the matter of civil disobedience. The anarchist view says that a person can choose to disobey the government whenever they like and whenever they feel they are personally justified in doing so. Such a stance has no biblical support whatsoever as evidenced in the writings of Paul in Romans 13.
The extremist patriot says that a person should always follow and obey their country no matter what the command. As will be shown in a moment, this view also does not have biblical support. Moreover, it is not supported in the history of nations either. For example, during the Nuremberg trials, the attorneys for the Nazi war criminals attempted to use the defense that their clients were only following the direct orders of the government and therefore could not be held responsible for their actions. However, one of the judges dismissed their argument with the simple question: “But gentlemen, is there not a law above our laws?”
The position the Scriptures uphold is one of biblical submission, with a Christian being allowed to act in civil disobedience to the government if itcommandsevil, such that it requires a Christian to act in a manner that is contrary to the clear teachings and requirements of God’s Word.