Acts 5:24 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 5:24, NIV: On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were at a loss, wondering what this might lead to.

Acts 5:24, ESV: 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.

Acts 5:24, KJV: Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.

Acts 5:24, NASB: Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what would come of this.

Acts 5:24, NLT: When the captain of the Temple guard and the leading priests heard this, they were perplexed, wondering where it would all end.

Acts 5:24, CSB: As the captain of the temple police and the chief priests heard these things, they were baffled about them, wondering what would come of this.

What does Acts 5:24 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

When the Sanhedrin ordered Peter and John to stop speaking and preaching in Jesus' name, they expected the men to obey, despite the fact Peter and John told them they wouldn't (Acts 4:18–20). When the priests find out that not just Peter and John but all the leaders of the Jesus-followers are teaching in the temple courtyard, they arrest them all (Acts 5:17–18). The next morning, the council makes the reasonable assumption that the men will still be in prison, so they send officers of the temple guards to collect them. The officers arrive at the jail to see the guards faithfully standing before the doors of empty cells (Acts 5:22–23).

At the moment, the captain and the priests are just "perplexed." How did they escape? Where did they go? When they find the apostles are again in the temple courtyard, again preaching in the name of Jesus, even insisting that Jesus has risen from the dead, they become "enraged" and murderous (Acts 5:33).

It is good that the priests are perplexed. It is sometimes God's will that we face something unexpected—it forces us to stop and ponder what is happening and what it means. That is one of the purposes of miraculous signs. In the Bible, miracles identify God's messengers; the people understand this, and when faced with miracles of healing and freedom from possession they listen to and believe the apostles' message (Acts 5:12–16).

Not too long before, the Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus for a sign. Jesus pointed out that the signs were right in front of them, they just refused to believe. He said, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah" (Matthew 16:4). Earlier, He had explained the sign of Jonah was a prophecy that He would be buried for three days and rise again (Matthew 12:38–40). This happened right under the noses of the Sanhedrin, and they know Jesus' tomb is empty (Matthew 28:11–15).

But the Sanhedrin's goal isn't to follow the signs to the truth. It is to recover the attentions of the people, which they believe are rightfully theirs (Acts 5:17). So they ignore the miracles of healings and impossible escapes, and concentrate on the threat to their own authority.