Yesterday we listened from the book of Acts about how things were really going great for Peter and some of the apostles. They were trying to follow God and be led by the Spirit after Jesus' resurrection. They were having pretty good success. They were healing the sick and casting out demons and people were leaving their old lives behind and following Jesus. So far, so good. But then some religious leaders got involved and had them thrown in jail. The apostles weren't doing anything wrong but they still got in trouble. Let's jump back into the story and see what happened next as we listen to today's passage:
But that night an angel of the Lord opened the prison gates, led the apostles out, and said to them, “Go and stand in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new life.” The apostles obeyed, and at dawn they entered the Temple and started teaching. The High Priest and his companions called together all the Jewish elders for a full meeting of the Council; then they sent orders to the prison to have the apostles brought before them. But when the officials arrived, they did not find the apostles in prison, so they returned to the Council and reported, “When we arrived at the jail, we found it locked up tight and all the guards on watch at the gates; but when we opened the gates, we found no one inside!” When the chief priests and the officer in charge of the Temple guards heard this, they wondered what had happened to the apostles. Then a man came in and said to them, “Listen! The men you put in prison are in the Temple teaching the people!” (Acts 5:19-25)
Don't you just love this? The apostles were locked up and under guard in prison. Then somehow, an angel led them to the Temple. The angel told them, “tell all the people about this new life." The apostles did what they were told and started teaching. After a few hours, the Council decided it was time to begin questioning the apostles and so they sent for them to be brought before them...but Peter and the apostles weren't there! The guards were still there; the prison doors were still locked; but the apostles were out teaching in the Temple. I'm sure that those apostles did not expect things to work out this way. They probably thought that they would be handed over to be executed like Jesus. But God intervened. Our takeaway from this: you and I never know what God will do when we obey Him.
His plan is always different from what we would expect...and that's very Good News!