Read This Week: Acts 5

The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. More and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed. Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. – Acts 5:12-21, 41-42 NIV

Acts 5 captures the good, bad, and ugly of the movement of the church. It serves as a glimpse into the reality of spreading the Good News of Christ in the world. We see here that sin is ugly and results in circumstances and consequences (vv. 1-10) that are hard for us to process and observe. Opposition to Jesus and the gospel is bad and creates challenges in this life (vv. 17-39) that seem cruel and unnecessary. Yet, God is good and powerful and He covers His church in love, grace, and protection (vv. 12-16; 41-42) as it teaches and proclaims the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

The chapter begins with the ugly and deliberate deception of two people named Ananias and Sapphira. Their spiritual hypocrisy led to lies about their business transactions and giving to the church. Their sin was intentional and directed against God and His people to advance their status and notoriety, and it cost them their lives. Theirs is a difficult story to read, but it serves as a warning against human beings willfully harming the church and trying to rob God of His glory.   

Following this ugly scene, we see much good being done by the disciples in healing people through God’s power. As the apostles proclaimed the gospel and preached Jesus, verses 14-16 says:

More and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.

The Bible definitively says here that all of them were healed. The healing power of God through the apostles was total, complete, and miraculous. These miracles were the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises that He would do greater things through them in the name of Jesus (John 14).

But as these incredibly good things were being done among the people and many were being saved, oppostion rose among the religious elite. Signs and wonders came with the preaching of the Word, and no one could deny that God was working, yet several were not happy with the success of the church. Verses 17-18 tell of the bad in this passage:

Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.

The apostles did not stop preaching the truth, nor did they change their convictions. They put their faith in God and obeyed Him in the face of opposition and believed He would protect them and take care of the bad consequences. And He did. He supernaturally released them from prison and placed a song in their heart as they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name of Jesus.

In the end, good triumphs over bad and makes beautiful that which is ugly in the world. God is wholly good and is constant in His goodness. Jesus came to make dead things live and to advance the good news of His truth on earth. In this advancement through the church, there will be bad times and ugly moments brought on by human frailty, evil, and sin. We must believe and trust the eternal goodness of God and remain faithful to His word and mission. Experiencing the good of a relationship with God and being on mission with Him is worth enduring the bad and the ugly. In fact, it is worth counting it all joy as the apostles did.  

8 Comments

  1. Heidi on November 6, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    Acts 5:39 is one of my favorites in this chapter. What touched my heart was you can’t stop what God is doing. No one can. We may not see what God is doing in the midst of our circumstances, issues, problems, but if you stay focused on what He is doing, keep doing His work, sharing the Good News, teaching what the Bible says, good stuff will come from it. So be a part of what God is doing, it’s the only way to live.

    I feel like God is saying, “Stay focused on what I am doing and stay close to Me. Don’t worry because I always win. I am the way, the Truth, and the life and I am always with you. I will go through this with you, you can count on Me because I love you.” I am so thankful to God for His love, guidance, and He is always here to help us and guide us.

    • Jason on November 10, 2020 at 11:14 am

      I really appreciate your insight, Heidi and I really like this chapter as well. This line from your post stood out to me:

      We may not see what God is doing in the midst of our circumstances, issues, problems, but if you stay focused on what He is doing, keep doing His work, sharing the Good News, teaching what the Bible says, good stuff will come from it.

      This is something we need to be reminded of constantly. God’s kingdom and the advancement of the Gospel message are unstoppable and we get to be a part of that in spite of the challenges and circumstances in our lives that may suggest otherwise. As you said, good things are happening that we can’t see because when God is involved, good always wins out.

      We just have to stay faithful and obedient even when we don’t want to or things don’t look favorable. Your comments are very timely.

  2. almaschmidt on November 8, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    This week, God gave me a song called, “Life with God”:

    What a beautiful life, what a beautiful life
    What a beautiful life it is.
    Waking up each day with Jesus by our side

    We are special messengers, walking in His spirit
    We are learning, teaching, spreading His good news to others

    Some will join, some will wander so let’s keep up God’s work
    He knows our hearts and who will follow

    What a beautiful life, what a beautiful life
    What a beautiful life with Jesus.

    I love waking up every day with the Lord. I am blessed to walk with him every day. We are his special messengers. Through everything, the ups and downs, I can count on Him. I am so thankful to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

    • Jason on November 10, 2020 at 11:21 am

      Life with God is truly beautiful, Alma and I so appreciate your lyrics pointing us to that truth. It is a privilege to wake up each day under His mercy, grace, and promises. Furthermore, it is beautiful to be called to share his message of love. What a beautiful life it is indeed. Your song also reminded me of “Your Love is Beautiful” by Hillsong:

      You surrounded me with songs of praise
      You have bought me to this place
      Where Your love and grace move within my life
      Now Your message is my light

      Your love is beautiful
      Your love is beautiful
      It’s the reason why I sing

      All around the world
      Let the praise begin
      All around the world
      Let the praise begin

  3. Kathy on November 9, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    This is what I got from God in our reading this week: “Again and again the apostles were bold in teaching about Jesus. They were more concerned with obeying Me and not men. I kept showing up in mighty ways. You should obey rulers, but not when they contradict Me.

    Rejoice when you are counted worthy, to suffer shame for Jesus. You need to have the apostles the same courage and determination to stand firm for my son, Jesus Christ. Don’t let others influence you to keep quiet about who Jesus is and what He did for you. Speak boldly in Christ’s name, anytime you have the opportunity. Fear not; be brave for Christ. Live bravely for Him who died for you. Do not be cowardly towards Him. I want to do great things through you and in you, in the name of Jesus. I go before you and with you. Your strength and boldness will come through knowing Me and knowing My word.”

    What this said to me is it is important to be willing to step out in faith and be bold. I can not be swayed by others, and the world, because of fear. God wants me to trust in Him.

    • Jason on November 10, 2020 at 11:39 am

      I think you point to an often overlooked takeaway from this chapter, Kathy which is holy boldness. Holy boldness and courage are very similar but are not always the same. We can have courage as a virtue, but holy boldness propels us to the length of professing Christ and letting our lives be loud with word and action as the apostles did. I think you summed this up in your comment:

      Don’t let others influence you to keep quiet about who Jesus is and what He did for you. Speak boldly in Christ’s name, anytime you have the opportunity. Fear not; be brave for Christ. Live bravely for Him who died for you. Do not be cowardly towards Him. I want to do great things through you and in you, in the name of Jesus. I go before you and with you. Your strength and boldness will come through knowing Me and knowing My word.

      I pray we will, as Christ-followers, speak boldly in Jesus’ name when we have the opportunity and we will always have opportunities. I pray God will fill us with His Spirit to not only be courageous but have holy boldness to allow God to do great things in and through us.

      • Kathy on November 11, 2020 at 8:44 am

        Thank you Jason. I always love your feedback. It always encourages me!

        • Jason on November 17, 2020 at 12:51 pm

          Thank you, Kathy! You are such a blessing. I am honored and privileged to interact with you and everyone else about God’s word, truth, and the most important things in our lives. I am constantly encouraged by you.

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