17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told,
23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.
24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
— Acts 5: 17-32
Yesterday as I was listening and watching the news and preparing for a busy day I heard a story that was introduced as a miracle. Given that I had been studying this text in the book of Acts all week long, it caught my ear. It was the story of a woman who had been blind for 21 years and the doctors told her she would never see again due to an injury she received from an accident she was involved in. She recently regained her sight through what they are now calling a miracle.
The doctors thought she would not see again but when you listened to her tell her story she always knew she would see again. She accredited her regaining her sight to her faith. She never stopped living, she jumped from planes, she still drew pictures. She did not let her blindness stop her.
I think God gives us stories like this to remind us that when we read a text from the Bible, of an angel opening those prison doors are not just something we read in the Bible…Miracles still have These apostles were locked up for teaching the message of Jesus. And when you teach Jesus, you are going to have
Opposition and set backs.
Set backs should not mean it is over. It means it is an opportunity for God to release His power in and through you. You see the Sadducees were jealous of the apostle’s power and tried to stop them but how many of you know you can’t stop God’s power? When God sends his angels he can open up closed doors and when the doctors give a bad report, God can change the report. Doctors have technical power, but they don’t always have spiritual power. I tell you we can be unstoppable
Obedience to God and not man.
In Verse 29 Peter is clear to the opposition that they were to obey God and not man. This is where the power comes from. When we take a stand as Christians that it doesn’t matter what the doctor says, He or she does not know what God knows. It does not matter what the judges and the government says about who can marry who, what matters is what God says. When the church stays true to this doctrine we can be unstoppable.
An insignificant agent with an unstoppable glory.
In the text, the Sanhedrin and Sadducees consider themselves experts in the law, they thought they had it going on and that they were smarter than the apostles but when you are on the Lord’s side it doesn’t matter how smart the council is, it doesn’t matter how smart politicians think they are, faith is the true sustainable attribute. When you have the faith like that lady who was blind in her life for 21 years and you know your life is being guided by God, it doesn’t matter how big someone else looks and how little you look to the other person when you have the power of the Holy Spirit working in you, you are unstoppable. That lady like the apostles seemed ordinary down to earth but she knew God was working in her. When God is working you, your life teaches life…you can glow in the dark. Live an unstoppable life by believing God can use you in your ordinariness to achieve extraordinary things.
The Rev. Elijah Wray is pastor of Wyatt’s Chapel Baptist Church. This was the sermon he delivered there on a recent Sunday.