In Acts 5:12-21a, the Apostle Paul’s friend and physician, Luke, says this:
“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people: and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. But of the rest . . . no man [dared] join himself to them: [however] the people [highly esteemed] them; and believers [in the Lord] were the more added to [their number], multitudes both of men and women: insomuch that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and [pallets], that, as Peter came by, at the least his shadow might overshadow some one of them. And there also came together the multitude from the cities round about Jerusalem, bringing sick folk, and them that were [afflicted] with unclean spirits: and they were healed[,] every one.
But the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy, and laid hands on the apostles, and put them in [a] public [jail]. But an angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them out, and said, ‘Go ye, and stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this Life.’ And when they heard this, they entered into the temple about daybreak, and taught.”
In this passage, Luke describes the aftermath and results of God’s judgment upon two members of the Jerusalem church for lying to the Holy Spirit in the Apostles and the church. The main subject of this passage is the divine Life of Christianity, which is given by the Holy Spirit. In this passage, there are about 12 aspects of this Life that Luke describes:
- The Attestations to the Life
- The Attraction of the Life
- The Avoidance of the Life
- The Admiration of the Life
- The Additions to the Life
- The Affection of the Life
- The Acclaim of the Life
- The Adversaries of the Life
- The Afflictions of the Life
- The Assistance of the Life
- The Assignment of the Life
- The Accordance with the Life.
In the first part of verse 12, Luke describes the attestations to the Life by saying that, through the hands of the 12 Apostles, or ones sent with the authority as eyewitnesses of Jesus before and after His resurrection, many signs, or miracles pointing to the divine source of their message, and many wonders, or reactions of wonder to them, were taking place among the people of Jerusalem. Why do I call these signs and wonders attestations to the Life? Because they were performed by the Holy Spirit to attest to the divine source of the message of the Apostles, who were sent to preach the gospel of the God-man, Jesus’s, coming, His death for their sins, His bodily resurrection from the dead, and God’s command to all people everywhere to change the way they thought about Him and themselves, and to only depend upon the truth of this message about Jesus’s identity and work as the sole grounds for His forgiveness of their sins.
In the second part of verse 12, Luke describes the attraction of the Life by saying that all the people of Jerusalem that were seeing the signs performed through the Apostles, and being filled with wonder at them, were together in Solomon’s porch, which was a porch that surrounded the Court of the Gentiles of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Why were they there? To see the miracles taking place through the Apostles, and to see if they really were God’s messengers with the gospel of the Messiah’s coming. This was a public place, so this was not only an attraction to the Life, but an attraction of the Life, as the general public of Jerusalem were able to see miracles of God taking place through the Apostles, those sent by Jesus to attest to the truthfulness of the gospel, and to proclaim it.
In the first part of verse 13, Luke describes the avoidance of the Life by saying that none of the rest of the people of Jerusalem, or those who were not seeing the miracles done through the Apostles at the temple, dared to associate with them. Why? Because they had heard of the death of two members of the church, which had happened because of their sins of lying to the Holy Spirit, which is recorded in the first part of chapter 5. Therefore, they did not want to risk being struck dead in order to associate with the Apostles and the church.
In the second part of verse 13, Luke describes the admiration of the Life by implying that, even though the rest of the people of Jerusalem did not dare associate with the Apostles, they still highly respected them, at least partly because of the miracles that they heard were taking place through them. In other words, they knew that they were special people because of their association with the miracles that were performed through them, and thought that they deserved to be highly respected.
In verse 14, Luke describes the additions to the Life by saying that even more believers in the Lord, or Supreme Authority, Jesus, which were multitudes of men and women, were constantly being added to the number of church members for the Jerusalem church. This was done by the Holy Spirit, who was using the Apostles, and the miracles He was performing through them, to grant faith to multitudes of men and women, so they would believe, or trust, in the Lord Jesus as the God-man who died for all their sins and was bodily raised from the dead. However, this did not take place apart from His Word communicating the gospel to the people, for it is the gospel that is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe (Romans 1:16).
In verse 15, Luke describes the affection of the Life. He goes on, after saying that multitudes of believers in the Lord were added to the number of church members, to say that it was for this reason that the church carried the sick into the streets of Jerusalem and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by them, his shadow might fall on them, and so heal them by the power of the Holy Spirit. Why do I call this the affection of the Life? Because in this verse, we see the affection that the church had for the sick, in that, since there was no room where the church was gathered for the sick to join them, the church laid them out into the streets, and Peter walked by them, so that his shadow would fall on them, and be used by the Holy Spirit to heal them.
In verse 16, Luke describes the acclaim, or fame, of the Life by implying that, in addition to these sick people being brought into the streets to be healed, the people from cities near Jerusalem were coming together into Jerusalem, and bringing sick people, and those tormented by demons, and they were all being healed by the Holy Spirit’s power through the Apostles. So, here we see that, not only was the city of Jerusalem filled with the miracles and preaching of the Apostles, which were being experienced by multitudes in the city, but cities around Jerusalem heard of these things, and were bringing their sick and demon-possessed people to be healed in Jerusalem. Such was the acclaim of the life of the Holy Spirit in these cities.
In verse 17, Luke describes the adversaries of the Life by implying that, although many people in and around Jerusalem were attracted to the Apostles’ work, and appreciated it, the high priest of Israel’s Judaism, and his associates, the Sadducees, the rulers of the temple and members of the Jewish government who denied the bodily resurrection of the dead, and only accepted the first 5 books of the Bible as Scripture, rose up from what they were doing when they heard and/or saw what was taking place through the church, to take action against it, and were filled with jealousy because of the popularity of the church and the Apostles among the people of Israel. They wanted the people to admire them, and to have acclaim among them, and to honor them, but instead, multitudes of people were experiencing these things in relation to the Apostles and the church.
In verse 18, Luke describes the afflictions of the Life by saying that the high priest and the Sadducees arrested the Apostles and put them in a public jail. Why a public jail? First, simply to prevent the Apostles from healing any more multitudes of people flocking to them, and to prevent them from preaching the gospel to them. Second, it was a public jail to put them among the common criminals, so as to give them no appearance of being special in any way, and in fact to make it appear as though they were criminals, and untrustworthy messengers that were spreading lies.
In verse 19, Luke describes the assistance of the Life by implying that, despite the imprisonment of the Apostles, during the night, an angel of the Lord Jesus opened the gates of the prison and took them out of it. Although the Life had adversaries and afflictions in it, it also had assistance from a ministering spirit, an angel, which literally means “messenger.” Thus, this was a messenger from the Lord sent to the Apostles to release them from jail, and to give them a message.
In verse 20, the angel describes the assignment of the Life by commanding the Apostles to go from the jail, to stand up like preachers, and to speak to the people in the temple the whole message of their divine Life in Christ and in the Holy Spirit. Notice the elements of this assignment of the Life:
- To go, similar to what the Lord Jesus Christ commanded His Apostles in Matthew 28: “Go therefore and make disciples . . .”
- To stand, which meant to take a stance of a preacher in the midst of the crowds of people in the temple, so as to make themselves noticeable and to be ready to audibly preach the Word of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- To speak to the people in the temple. Why the people in the temple? Because this was the most public location, and was the best location to preach to crowds of people who needed to hear the gospel of Christ. In addition, it was one of the meeting places of the Jerusalem church.
- To speak the whole message of their Life. Notice the word “whole” there. They were to withhold no information, but to boldly proclaim the message of the incarnation of divine Life, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In verse 21, Luke describes the accordance with, or obedience to, the Life, by implying that, as soon as the Apostles were commanded to go, to stand, and to speak to the people in the temple the whole message of Life, they entered into the temple at about sunrise, and began to teach the whole message of Life. Notice particularly their immediate obedience to the command of the Lord — they entered into the temple at about sunrise, when they had been released from jail during the night, indicating that they immediately endeavored to obey the Lord’s command to speak to the people in the temple. Then, they began to teach the whole message of the Life, Jesus.
So, are you a living attesting miracle to the truthfulness of the gospel through your Christlikeness and good works?
Do you regularly meet with a local church?
Are you trusting only in the Lord Jesus Christ for His forgiveness of your sins, and do you associate with a local church?
Do you have compassion for the needy?
Do you have the desire to try to bring people to the Lord Jesus Christ so He can heal their spiritual death and their enslavement to Satan and his demons?
Do you have the desire to go and speak to people the whole message of the Life, the Lord Jesus Christ?
Do you help toward making disciples of Christ, toward baptizing them in the name of the Holy Trinity, and toward teaching them how to observe all that Christ commanded His disciples?
Do you understand why you need to trust in the Lord? The Apostle Paul wrote about it this way:
“. . . I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-9
This is what the Apostle John said about the gospel in John 1:1-18:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. John beareth witness of him, and crieth, saying, This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me. For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
This is what Christ Himself said about the gospel:
“. . . God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:16-20
John the Baptist said this: “. . . he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on [stays directed toward] him.” – John 3:36
The Apostle Paul said this in Romans 2:4-16 and 1:18-32:
“. . . despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ.”
“. . . the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousnessof men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.”
Speaking of those that practice sin, the Apostle Paul uses this quote:
“. . . There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one: Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness . . .” – Romans 3:10-14
This is my appeal to you, as written by the Apostle Paul:
“. . . we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21
This is how you become reconciled to God:
“. . . if thou shalt confess [acknowledge] with thy mouth Jesus as Lord [Greek: kurios, or Supreme in Authority], and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him [depend upon Him]: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [who He is, what He has done, and what He can do] shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13