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Steeple People | Acts 5:21-42

Takeaway: Verse 39

But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!

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Welcome to The Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica Parkerson. This is the place where we meet up to read half a chapter of God’s Word together and remember how loved we are. Jesus extends an amazing invitation to us in the Bible. He says, come to me and I WILL give you rest. This is us RSVPing: Yes!! to that invitation. So, take a deep breath and let’s get started.

Today’s episode is called, “Steeple People”. It’s gonna be good! Before we dive into Acts chapter five, the second half, join me in a word of prayer. Oh, Father, we just come to you in the name of Jesus. And just like the backhoe I just heard outside going beep beep beep, Lord help us to back up the day right now and take a deep breath, and just enjoy your presence in these next few minutes. Thank you Lord, for giving us your word and your love. We give you this time and our lives. It’s in the name of Jesus we pray, amen. 

Well, last time Luke was doing some reporting in the book of Acts, we found out that an angel broke Peter and John out of jail. They were imprisoned for preaching the good news that Jesus died for our sins and rose again. And they were warned by the Jewish authorities, don’t you go preaching in the name of Jesus. But an angel broke them out. So, let’s find out what happens next.

We’re picking it up in Acts chapter five, verse 21. Here we go. “So at daybreak, the apostles entered the temple, as they were told,” not by men, but by God “and immediately began teaching. When the high priest and his officials arrived, they convened the high council, the full assembly of the elders of Israel. Then they sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail for trial. But when the temple guards went to the jail, the men were gone.” Sprung! “So they returned to the council and reported, ‘The jail was securely locked, with the guards standing outside, but when we opened to the gates, no one was there!'” An Angel assist, I love it. 

“When the captain of the temple guard and the leading priest heard this, they were perplexed, wondering where it would all end. Then someone arrived with startling news. ‘The men you put in jail are standing in the Temple, teaching the people!'” What a surprise that must have been. “The captain went with his Temple guards and arrested the apostles, but without violence for they were afraid the people would stone them. Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them. ‘We gave you strict orders, never again to teach in this man’s name.’ He said. ‘Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him, and you want to make us responsible for his death!’ 

“But Peter and the apostles replied, ‘We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross. Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things. And so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.’ When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them. But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while. Then he said to his colleagues, ‘Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men! Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing. After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, and all his followers were scattered too. So my advice is leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown.'” 

Here comes our takeaway verse. “‘But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God.'” Wow. “The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged.” Ouch. “Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.” This is an astonishing statement right now. “The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: Jesus is the Messiah.”

And that message continues today. You can’t stop God’s plans. My friend Lee is a pastor, and he was saying recently on a podcast that every time you and I see a steeple, it’s evidence that you can’t stop God’s plans. The authorities told Peter and John, “Stop it! Don’t you preach in the name of Jesus!” But did you hear what we just read? They went from house to house, they went all over the place, spreading the hope. Sometimes you can’t contain the hope and love in your heart. It’s gotta come out, and when it does it spills on others, and it changes lives. So the next time you see a steeple, remember you can’t stop God’s plans. Can’t wait till next time. 

Thank you so much for listening to the Bible for Busy People. If you need prayer or you’re ready to go a little deeper in your faith, we’ve posted some resources for you in our show notes. We’d love for you to share this podcast with a friend and leave us a review. It helps us reach even more people with the hope of Jesus. This podcast is part of Purposely, a podcast network designed with practical podcasts to help you find and live in God’s purpose for your life. Find more podcasts that will recharge you at

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