The apostles' teaching was talked about on every street in
Jerusalem. Even in the cities round about the people had heard that the
apostles were filled with the power of God. Each day more believers
were added to the church until it numbered many thousands.
The people were much impressed by the miracles that the apostles did in the name of
Jesus. They even brought their sick and laid
them in the streets where Peter walked. They believed in his power
so much that they thought even his shadow would make the sick well. From many cities and towns the sick were brought, and the
apostles healed them.
The Jewish rulers grew angrier every day. They watched the works of Jesus spread farther and farther. The Jewish people were honoring
the apostles and Jesus Christ more than they were their rulers. "We
must do something at once to crush this new teaching," the rulers decided. So they seized the apostles and locked them in prison.
Night came and the rulers went home to rest. They thought their worries were over since the apostles were behind bars.
While the rulers slept, an angel opened the iron doors of the prison and went inside to speak to the apostles. The angel told them,
"Go back to the temple and teach the people all the words of life."
The angel led the apostles out of the prison into the cool night air of the quiet street. There he left them, and they went on to
their homes. Early in the morning they went to the temple to teach
That same morning the high priest and his council met for the apostles' trial. They sent officers to bring the apostles from prison,
but the officers returned alone. "We found the keepers standing guard outside the locked doors," they said, "but when we went
in, we could find no one."
What could this mean? The high priest and his council did not know what to do. While they were trying to find out what had
happened, someone came from the temple with more news. The man said, "The men you put in prison are in the temple teaching the
Now what could the Jewish rulers do? The people would stone them if they tried to seize the apostles in the temple. Finally the rulers ordered their officers to take the apostles quietly and bring them to the council room.
When the apostles were brought in, the rulers asked angrily, "Did we not order you not to teach about Jesus? Then why have you filled this city with your teaching? Why have you told the people that we are guilty of Jesus' death?"
Peter and the other apostles stood up boldly and answered, "We should obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up this Jesus whom you killed. And God has made this same Jesus a Prince and a Savior, to give forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses
of these things and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him."
When the rulers heard this, they were furious. They even wanted to kill the apostles. At that moment a well-known and respected
teacher stood up. He was Gamaliel, a Pharisee. After asking that the apostles be dismissed from the room, Gamaliel said, "Men of
Israel, be careful how you treat these men. Let them alone. If their
work is of men, it won't amount to anything. If it is of God, you cannot overthrow it. You cannot fight against God."
Because the rulers honored Gamaliel as a wise teacher of the Law they decided to let the apostles live. Even so the rulers were
still angry with the apostles. They commanded Peter and the others
never to teach or speak in the name of Jesus again.
After being severely beaten, the apostles were allowed to go. Even though their backs were bleeding, they rejoiced that they were
counted worthy to suffer for Jesus' sake. How light their sufferings
were compared to what Jesus had to go through! They could not expect to be treated any better than he had been.
Again the apostles returned to the temple. Each day they taught there and in the people's homes about the Savior, Christ the Lord.