Do you struggle with jealousy? Your immediate response might be … “Who … me?” But, I suggest that most of us have struggled with various levels of the sin of jealousy in our lives … before salvation and even after salvation. God says jealousy is an act of the sinful nature:
Gal 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Yet … the same Paul who wrote under inspiration to the Church at Galatia, wrote that Christians might well persist in the acts of the sinful nature after salvation. To the Corinthian Church he wrote:
2 Cor 12: 20 I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
Please read the following passage, which actually extends all the way to verse 42.
Ac 5:17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” 21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles. 22 But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this. 25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.
1) Doctrinal differences.
Ac 5:17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy.
The high priest does not seem to be a Sadducee, but his son was. The Body of this sect seems to have become supporters of the high priest in order to convince him to stop the Doctrine of the Resurrection that was being preached. They did not believe in the Resurrection, therefore they rejected that Jesus rose from the dead.
Their opposition was so huge because many who were faithful Jews were converting to Christianity. They were losing both Sadducees and in general, members of the Temple Worship and Synagogue. People who supported them now changed and believe that Jesus rose from the dead resulting in them as Sadducees being “filled with jealousy”.
This word is far richer in its meaning than meets the eye, for it includes anger and indignation. They were full of wrath towards the apostles and their teaching about the Resurrection because it was destroying what they believed and taught. This happens often today. Where “churches” reject the Gospel because they are liberal or catholic in their theological persuasion, they become extremely wrathful when their people leave to be born again and follow the true Messiah.
You see, the true Jesus is the one who was dead and rose to life again and transforms people from being religious and ritualistic to being Christian. If the Sadducees could squash the Gospel they would stop its spread and result in not having the Christian Church. Did the high priest understand their efforts? I don’t know, but what I do know is that he wanted to stop the Gospel too.
2) An effort to stop the Doctrine of the Resurrection.
Ac 5:18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.
Their stretch now expands beyond Peter and John to “the apostles”. It is likely that this included the whole company. They were arrested … “hands were laid on them”. The concept seems to indicate a rather hostile taking into custody. Then they were imprisoned in the “public jail”. It was a common prison for all criminals. Preaching the Gospel will always have opposition. At times it will be intense … because the enemy of God and His people will always try to stop the proclamation of the Gospel, for when the Gospel net is cast … souls are caught and saved and satan’s ocean of souls diminishes in size.
3) God has different plans.
Ac 5:19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.
We need to understand that God would not have gone through all the prophecies leading up to Jesus, the incarnation, humiliation and horrendous murder, burial and resurrection followed by the ascension, only to allow some human strategy to mess up His salvific plans designed way back in eternity. God’s resources are far more plentiful than the evil one’s. He has legions of angels at His disposal … and here we see Him sending one to Jerusalem on a mission to get the apostles out of prison and into the streets to do what He wants them to do … to evangelize and make disciples. Not only does the angel open the locked prison doors, he escorts them right out. No person, not even the devil has the right or is able to interfere with God’s Gospel plans. Listen to the angel’s word:
Ac 5:20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”
(1) There was an instruction … Go.
(2) The instruction was clear and concise! Firstly they were to go to the temple courts. This is where crowds of people would gather with their animals and other offerings. Secondly, they were to tell these people the full message about Jesus.
(a) The full message would include God’s promise to send a Messiah, Jesus’ incarnation, ministry, death, burial, resurrection and ascension, including the purpose of the Messiah’s sacrifice, to whom it is offered and what the shape of commitment and surrender means.
(b) Speaking to the apostles on God’s behalf, in including the words “full message” meant that the Resurrection the Sadducees wanted squashed needed to be proclaimed because Christians do not worship a dead Messiah but a living one.
(c) The objective of the Gospel was new life, different to the Sadducees’ belief.
Dear Lord, thank You for New Life You give to all who accept Your Gospel as Truth, turning in repentance and faith and following Jesus Christ as their Lord and King … serving Him faithfully. Amen.