LOOK at the angel here holding open the door of the prison. The men he is setting free are Jesus’ apostles. Let’s find out what led to their being put in prison.
It has been only a short time since the holy spirit was poured out on Jesus’ disciples. And this is what happens: Peter and John are going into the temple in Jerusalem one afternoon. There, near the door, is a man who has been crippled all his life. People carry him here every day so that he can beg for money from those going into the temple. When he sees Peter and John, he begs them to give him something. What will the apostles do?
They stop and look at the poor man. ‘I have no money,’ Peter says, ‘but I will give you what I have. In the name of Jesus, get up and walk!’ Peter then takes the man by the right hand, and at once he jumps up and begins walking. When the people see this, they are amazed and very happy for this wonderful miracle.
‘It is by the power of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, that we did this miracle,’ Peter says. While he and John are speaking, some religious leaders come along. They are angry because Peter and John are telling the people about Jesus’ being raised from the dead. So they grab them and put them into prison.
The next day the religious leaders have a big meeting. Peter and John, along with the man they healed, are brought in. ‘By what power did you do this miracle?’ the religious leaders ask.
Peter tells them that it is by the power of God, who raised Jesus from the dead. The priests do not know what to do, for they cannot deny that this wonderful miracle really happened. So they warn the apostles not to talk about Jesus anymore, and then let them go.
As the days go by the apostles keep on preaching about Jesus and healing the sick. News about these miracles spreads. And so even crowds from the towns around Jerusalem bring sick ones for the apostles to heal. This makes the religious leaders jealous, so they grab the apostles and put them into prison. But they don’t stay there long.
During the night God’s angel opens the prison door, as you can see here. The angel says: ‘Go and stand in the temple, and keep on speaking to the people.’ The next morning, when the religious leaders send men to the prison to get the apostles, they are gone. Later the men find them teaching in the temple and bring them to the Sanʹhe·drin hall.
‘We gave you strict orders not to teach about Jesus anymore,’ the religious leaders say. ‘But you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching.’ Then the apostles answer: ‘We must obey God as ruler rather than men.’ So they keep right on teaching the “good news.” Isn’t that a fine example for us to follow?
Acts chapters 3 to 5.