The Lord Frustrates Control Freaks

They need to learn who's in control.

Acts 5:17-26 (ESV)

But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.

Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.” Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

I almost have sympathy for the high priest and the party of the Sadducees. They’re control freaks and things are just not cooperating. Every attempt at control backfires. They even got the founder of this movement crucified and he just pops back up again, showing everybody the holes in his hands and his feet. How frustrating is that?

So, filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. What were they so jealous about?

Actually, “jealousy” might not be the right word. The New King James has it as indignation. The Greek word is actually “zalos,” which, not surprisingly, can be translated as zeal.

In other words, this is not them just defending their power. They actually thought they were doing the right thing. That makes sense, especially given that it was a joint decision.

They’re sincere, but they’re control freaks – and it’s not going well. They jail the apostles and that just triggers another miracle.

Their control freak methods are being used by God! It’s like, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good,” except that they didn’t really mean it for evil.

It’s closer to, “You did it for stupid, but God used it for good.”

How did we get here, anyway (being Christians, that is)? Where would we be if we hadn’t been so stupid?

Part of God’s plan of salvation is our need for salvation. It’s beautiful – warts and all.

Praise God from whom all blessing flows. Praise Him for who He is.

And for His amazing ways.

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Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.