After the disciples had received the Holy Spirit, the followers of Jesus exploded in numbers.
Peter’s first address alone (Acts 2:17-40) resulted in about three thousand new believers and these were not half hearted converts, but devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, fellowship and to prayer.
Miraculous signs and wonders flowed generously, which further cemented the name of Jesus as Israel’s risen Lord & King.
“A deep sense of awe came over them all” Acts 2:43
I smile at the dilemma facing the elders/teachers of religious law who worked for years to eliminate Jesus. Ironically their efforts in ‘cutting off one head’ resulted in thousands upon thousands replacing it. And this replacement would not be silenced, contained or jailed!
It was as wild as fire, consuming every lie in its path.
When Peter was questioned by the high priests, the Holy Spirit filled him with faultless replies, leaving them frustrated & further disempowered.
These words from Peter sums it up for them.
“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
The death of Jesus would have ended the threat to their religious institution. Jesus’ name and miracles would fade into history and with no spiritual alternatives ‘on the market’, the Pharisees would resume to burden people with an impossible path to heaven.... But the resurrection was the game changer they didn’t expect.
Now, as preached by the disciples, the forgiveness of sins & resurrection life of Jesus, was available to ALL who believed.
The old religious guard wanted to keep the disciples from spreading this ‘propaganda’, warning them to STOP speaking to people in Jesus name.
But they replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than Him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen & heard”
By the time we move to Acts 5:17 (with many more miracles & converts between) it says, “The high priests and his officials who were sadducees, were filled with jealousy.”
They battled against God, to preserve their status & way of religious life.
In this commentary on how the Pharisees continued to persecute the name & ministry of Jesus, I find a reason to pray.