In my last post, we learned that not all the Believers were in one accord as Kefa Confronts Hananyah and Shappirah. In this post, we learn that the Emissaries Perform Many Signs and Miracles and Are Jailed Again.
12 Meanwhile, through the emissaries, many signs and miracles continued to be done among the people. United in mind and purpose, the believers met in Shlomo’s Colonnade;
Undaunted by their previous arrest at the Temple (4:3), the emissaries continued to perform signs and miracles among the people they encountered in Shlomo’s Colonnade.
13 and no one else dared to join them. Nevertheless, the people continued to regard them highly; 14 and throngs of believers were added to the Lord, both men, and women.
No one else seems to refer to non-believers that than to other Believers. Many non-Jews attended synagogue and believed in Israel’s God without fully converting and keeping the Jewish Law. In context, people fear to associate with the movement without full commitment, knowing the fate of Hananyah and Shappirah.
15 They went so far as to bring the sick into the streets and lay them on mattresses and stretchers so that at least Kefa’s shadow might fall on them as he passed by. 16 Crowds also gathered from the towns around Yerushalayim, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and every one of them was healed.
Ancient people thought that one’s shadow was attached to oneself. In Jewish Law, for example, if one’s shadow touched a corpse, one was as unclean as one who physically touched the corpse. Some Greeks felt that one could suffer harm through injury to one’s shadow.
What sounds to modern ears like a charlatan’s stunt not only reflected genuine faith but was rewarded by complete healing success. Does God heal miraculously today? Some people suppose that all healing ministries are run by fakers pursuing money. We have seen too many instances of that in our recent past. But even physicians who believe neither in God nor in miracles will attest to extraordinary and inexplicable cures for which they deserve n credit, and they will agree that the label “psychosomatic” will go only so far in accounting for them. In other words: Yes, God still heals.
There are several places in the Brit Hadashah, including Acts, where God heled people through surprising means. Besides Kefa’s shadow, these included the hem of Yeshua’s robe (LK 8:44) as well as facecloths and aprons that the Rabbi Sha’ul had touched (Ac 19:12). There was, of course, nothing special about these items; instead, it was the power of God working through the messengers with whom the objects were associated.
17 But the Cohen HaGadol and his associates, who were members of the party of the Tz’dukim, were filled with jealousy.
The Tz’dukim (Sadducees) were politically powerful but never gained the popularity that the P’rushim enjoyed. The Cohen HaGadol and his associates opposed the spread of Messianic Judaism, not merely because they didn’t believe in Yeshua as the Messiah, but because they were filled with jealousy at the following that was building around Him daily as the emissaries preached and performed miracles.
18 They arrested the emissaries and put them in the public jail.
Jails were typically used for detention until trial, not for imprisonment as a punishment. The Roman garrison in this period controlled the Fortress Antonia on the Temple Mount; the Levite Temple police thus jailed the emissaries in a different location, though it might also be near the Temple.
19 But during the night, an angel of Adonai opened the doors of the prison, led them out and said, 20 “Go, stand in the Temple court and keep telling the people all about this new life!”
Having been arrested again for their ministry in Yeshua’s name, the emissaries were set free by an angel of Adonai in such a way that aroused no attention. Some speculate that they were transported directly from the jail to the Temple court, but the fact that the angel opened the doors of the prison and told the emissaries to stand in the Temple court suggests otherwise. We will see a similar episode with Kefa in Acts12:6-10.
21 After hearing that, they entered the Temple area about dawn and began to teach. Now the Cohen Hagadol and his associates came and called a meeting of the Sanhedrin (that is, of Isra’el’s whole assembly of elders) and sent to the jail to have them brought. ~ Acts 5:12-21a (CJB)
The gates of the Temple opened at midnight, but people returned only at daybreak. The hearing for the emissaries had been scheduled for daylight because trials were not to be held at night. Newly freed, we might expect the emissaries to flee Yerushalayim. Instead, they entered the Temple are about dawn and began to do the very thing that had gotten them in trouble in the first place: teach about Yeshua.
In my next post, we learn that the Emissaries Are Rounded Up Again to Be Warned by the Sanhedrin.