What does Acts 5:27 mean?
ESV: And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them,
NIV: The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest.
NASB: When they had brought them, they had them stand before the Council. The high priest interrogated them,
CSB: After they brought them in, they had them stand before the Sanhedrin, and the high priest asked,
NLT: Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them.
KJV: And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
The previous day, religious officials had arrested the apostles for breaking the priests' direct order not to teach or speak in Jesus' name (Acts 4:18; 5:28). When the officers go this morning to bring the men before the council, the cells are empty. An angel had come in the night, rescued the apostles, and told them to return to the temple courtyard and continue with their ministry. The guards again arrest the apostles, but quietly. The people like both the apostles' ability to heal and their message. If the guards are too forceful, the people might turn against them (Acts 5:12–26).
The apostles now face the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was the court of Jewish religious leaders. Its members included chief priests, elders of the people, and teacher-lawyers called scribes. They could be of any Jewish sect; most were Sadducees while the minority party were Pharisees. The Roman government provided civil law enforcement. The Sanhedrin enforced the Mosaic law on any Jew, whether in Judea or beyond (Acts 9:1–2).
For the most part, members of the Sanhedrin were antagonistic toward Jesus and His message. It was the Sanhedrin who condemned Jesus (Matthew 26:57). Later, the Sanhedrin will authorize Saul to chase Jesus-followers hundreds of miles away to Damascus and bring them to Jerusalem for trial (Acts 9:1–2). After Saul becomes a Christian, the Sanhedrin will authorize and abet an assassination attempt against him (Acts 23:12–15). This antagonism is partly because Jesus had several disagreements with the Sadducees about the resurrection of the dead, and with Pharisees about their extra, abusive laws (Mark 12:18–27; Matthew 23:1–36). Mostly, however, they were jealous of His followers (Matthew 27:18; Acts 5:17). The message of repentance, reconciliation, and resurrection is far more compelling than guilt trips about donating to the temple and following the Law.
Acts 5:27–42 occurs in the aftermath of a miraculous jailbreak. The chief priests arrested the apostles for teaching and healing in Jesus' name (Acts 5:17–18). On the morning of the inquiry, the guards find the prison cells empty and the apostles, again, preaching in the temple courtyard (Acts 5:22, 25). The guards bring the apostles back, and the Sanhedrin questions them. When the apostles insist Jesus is alive, the priests want them killed. But a Pharisee, Gamaliel, calms the situation. The Sanhedrin do flog the apostles before releasing them, starting the long history of physical persecution against Christ-followers. Verse 29 is a cornerstone of Christian ethics: that God's will is worth suffering for.
The apostles continue to make hard decisions in the name of Jesus, both inside and outside the church. When Ananias and Sapphira lie to God, the Holy Spirit inspires Peter to pronounce God's judgment on them, protecting the church from the love of the world. Despite the Sanhedrin's watchful eye—and direct orders (Acts 4:17–18)—the apostles continue to preach and heal openly. The guards arrest the apostles, but the Sanhedrin settles for beating them instead of capital punishment. The apostles consider it an honor to suffer on behalf of their Savior.
In Acts 5, persecution from unbelievers begins to accelerate. The Sanhedrin has become aware the apostles teach that Jesus rose from the dead (Acts 4). Now, they start to push back in earnest, arresting and beating the apostles. Soon, a mob will kill Stephen, a deacon (Acts 7:54–60), and the Sanhedrin will empower Saul to run down and arrest any Jesus-follower he can find (Acts 8:1–3). The apostles will stay in Jerusalem. Other Jesus-followers will carry His offer of forgiveness and reconciliation with God into the Roman Empire and beyond. The apostles' faithfulness and submission to the Holy Spirit is why we have the gospel message today.
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 12/6/2023 9:38:20 PM
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