Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for July 14

Here’s the Explore the Bible Sunday School lesson commentary for July 14, written by Jay T. Robertson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Mobile.

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for July 14

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By Jay T. Robertson, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Mobile


Acts 5:29–42

The apostles experienced power to perform miracles, great boldness in preaching and God’s presence in their lives, yet they were not exempt from hatred and persecution. They were arrested, put in jail, beaten and slandered by community leaders. Faith in God does not make troubles disappear; it makes troubles appear less frightening because it puts them in the right perspective. The apostles rejoiced that they had been counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus, and they didn’t stop proclaiming the gospel.

Angry Response (29–33)

After being warned by the Sanhedrin not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus, the apostles didn’t retreat at all. They continued to proclaim the gospel and were arrested again. The Sanhedrin was especially angry because the apostles disobeyed its clear command not to speak the name of Jesus and because the apostles laid the guilt for Jesus’ death on its leaders.

When confronted by the high priest and members of the Sanhedrin, Peter replied, “We must obey God rather than people.” Peter seized the opportunity of the moment to witness to the religious leaders once again. He said they all were responsible for putting Jesus to death, but the God of their ancestors, whom they claimed to worship, raised Jesus back to life and exalted Him to His right hand as Ruler and Savior. It is because of what God has accomplished in Jesus that repentance and forgiveness of sins can be proclaimed to Israel. When they heard this they were “enraged” and wanted to kill the apostles.

Wise Counsel (34–39)

As the members of the Sanhedrin prepared to attack the apostles, Gamaliel, a highly respected Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, ordered that the apostles be taken outside for a while. Gamaliel urged the Sanhedrin not to act like an unruly mob but to consider carefully how they would respond to the claims of the apostles.

Gamaliel referenced two familiar incidents of which they would all be aware. He reminded them of an insurrection led by Theudas and one led by Judas the Galilean. When the leaders were killed, both insurrections came to nothing.

Gamaliel believed that nothing good would come from their continued opposition to the apostles. He strongly warned the Sanhedrin to leave them alone. As with Theudas and Judas, if their work were merely human in origin, it would fail. The leaders did not need to risk attracting the attention of the Romans or the Jewish people who had seen the miracles.

On the other hand, if their work was of God, the leaders would not be able to stop it no matter how hard they tried, and they could discover they were actually fighting against God Himself. The Sanhedrin accepted his counsel and did not have them executed.

Grateful Suffering (40–42)

After calling the apostles back into the council, they ordered that the apostles be flogged in accordance with Jewish law (Deut. 25:2–3). Then the Sanhedrin commanded the apostles once again not to speak in the name of Jesus. They were to cease and desist immediately from preaching about Jesus and His resurrection.

The apostles went out from the Sanhedrin rejoicing that they had been counted worthy of suffering for the name of Jesus. They had not compromised the truth. They demonstrated their faith in Christ by their faithfulness to Christ, even in the face of persecution.