The Gospel Cannot be Bound!

01 Nov
Gospel not Bound

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We discover in Acts 5:17 that the high priest and the Sadducees rose up against the Apostles (v.18). The officiating high priest at this time was Caiaphas, but Luke tells us in Acts 4:6 that he means Annas, because he calls him high priest, while placing Caiaphas as one of his family who was with him. In his Gospel Luke also names Annas as high priest together with the officiating Caiaphas (Luke 3:2). What this means is that, simply because Rome removed one man as the high priest and named another in his stead, did not remove that man from the office of high priest according to God. According to Scripture, the high priest was anointed for life. Aaron was Israel’s first high priest, and though his sons also officiated in that office (Numbers 3:3-4), he retained his office for life and was head over them (Numbers 33:38). Therefore, Annas retained all his power as high priest in the eyes of the Jews. His official title was Captain of the Temple (Acts 4:1).[1]

Luke tells us that all the power of the Jews, vested in their authorities and particularly in Annas the high priest and Captain of the Temple, was used against the Apostles, and they were arrested and placed overnight in the prison, to be charged and punished in the morning (Acts 5:18). Nevertheless, the Angel of the Lord (Jesus) came and released them (v.19), saying they must continue preaching “the words of life” (v.20). In Acts 7:38 Stephen speaks of it as the “living oracles, while Paul expresses it as the “word of salvation” in Acts 13:26. Peter was the first to recognize it as “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68), which Jesus said he had given his followers (John 17:8) and defined it as knowing the Father and Jesus, whom he had sent (John 17:3). The Apostle, John, further describes it as more than words, but Jesus himself, Life, manifest in flesh, whom he had both seen and heard (1John 1:1-3), meaning that eternal life is given to us, but this life is within Jesus (1John 5:11), so if we have Jesus, we have life, but if we don’t have Jesus, we cannot live forever (1John 5:12). This was what the Apostles were commanded to preach (Acts 5:20) and why they were released (v.19) by the authority of God.

The Apostles did as they were commanded (Acts 5:21a), and the result was an astonished ruling body (Acts 5:21b-25). The powers of this world are simply unable to contend with the authority of God. They cannot contain the will of God by seeking to silence those who are sent by God. Even if they succeed in killing those who preach the words of salvation (Acts 7:58-60), the will of God cannot be overpowered, because the authority and power of God, though vested in man, is not dependent upon any single person or group of people (Acts 8:1-4).

The apostles reply: “We ought to obey God rather than men” has echoed in the hearts of multitudes of believers throughout the centuries when any governing body would hazard a stand against the people of God, because, if God is for us. no power on earth is able to stand against us (Romans 8:31), for no power exists in heaven or on earth that is able to stay the power and authority of God (2Corinthians 13:8; cp. Romans 1:18). Thus, the zeal of men in authority (Acts 5:17) is powerless before words of Life.


[1] Josephus mentions that during the governorship of Ventidius  Cumanus (cir. 49- 52 CE) there arose a tumult between Samaria and the Jews of Galilee and Judea. In the end the governor of Syria sent Cumanus to Rome to answer to charges of bribery, and the leaders of Samaria and the Jews — high priest, Ananias (son of Nebedaius)  and the commander(captain) of the Temple, Ananus (Annus of the Gospels) to Rome to answer the charges of the tumult between them (cir. 52 CE) – [Antiquities of the Jews; 20.6.1-2].

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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Kingdom of God


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