06/22

June 22

Acts 5:17-42

The high priest saw the Christian church was growing, and he and the rest of the Sadducees were filled with indignation, or jealousy. In an effort to stop them, the high priest had the apostles in prison. It could be that if you stand up to do what God has called you to, that someone will be jealous. However, our focus must remain on God, allowing Him to take care of our enemies.

In verse 19, an angel opened the prison doors. If an angel could do that, then surely angels are still working among us. Not only did the angel help to release the apostles; but he also gave instruction: “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” They listened and they obeyed, publicly teaching, getting attention. Of course, then the high priest and religious officials found out they had escaped their prison. They would have killed them, but they feared the crowd.

The high priest brought the apostles before the council, questioning their defiance of their orders. Peter and the others answered, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” God is a higher authority. They did not agree that God would tell them to do something other than what they said, and they were furious, ready to kill them.

Gamaliel, a member of the council stood up. Let’s look at a few things. First, he was respectful, asking the apostles to step away while he spoke to the council and high priest. Second, he was a teacher of the law, qualified with knowledge. Third, he was held in respect by all the people.

In verse 35, Gamaliel asks the council to be careful of what they do to the apostles. His wisdom was to leave the men alone and allow them to come to nothing rather than to create more dissension with the people.

As the apostles walked away from near death, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy of His name, even to the point of suffering for that name, the name of Jesus. They were encouraged, teaching daily in the temple and in small groups in homes. They continued to spread the Good News!

Esther 4-6

In chapter 4, verse 14, Mordecai says to Esther, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

What did he say?
“If you remain silent.” Esther had a voice. She was the queen. Esther also had a choice. She could speak up. To remain silent was also a choice.
“At this time.” Time comes and goes, and we have to act in the moment or we could find that we have disobeyed.
“Relief and deliverance.” The king gave Haman the authority to order all Jews to be killed, and not only the Jews in this city, but all Jews throughout the nation. The need was relief and deliverance for the continued existence of the nation.
“Will arise for the Jews from another place.” Mordecai’s faith was in God, not in a person. He believed God would save the nation for God to keep His covenant, whatever vessel was willing and obedient.
“But you and your father’s house will perish.” If Esther disobeyed the Lord, her consequence would be death and loss.
“Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” He suggested that her position and favor was for the purpose of saving the Jews. Perhaps God saw ahead and put Esther in place.

Esther holds a banquet, and with humility and meekness, she goes before her husband, the king. In chapter 6, the king honors Mordecai.

Like Mordecai, let’s rely on God for salvation. Like Esther, let’s rely on God for favor. God is able to move heaven and earth to demonstrate His love and power for those that put their faith in Him.

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