Kitchen at York house.
Friday, 4 March 2022
Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. Acts 5:24
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
No one was inside! The prison was shut securely, the guards were properly stationed, and yet the cell was empty! With that being the case, it next says, “Now when the high priest.” Some manuscripts leave out this designation. Further, for those manuscripts that contain it, the word here translated as “high priest,” hiereus, is one that is not used this way elsewhere. Rather, in the New Testament, this word is translated simply as “priest.”
However, in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word kohen, which also simply means “priest,” is used to refer to the high priest at times. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, this is then translated as hiereus. Luke would have known this, and the obvious nature of who it is referring to meant that calling him “the priest” was sufficient to convey the meaning of “the high priest.” Along with this individual is next noted, “the captain of the temple.”
It is the same word used in Acts 4:1. He had authority as the main officer of the temple complex and may have been the actual arresting officer on the previous day. Luke next says, “and the chief priests.”
This is the same word used to refer to the high priest when it is in the singular. It is also the same word in the plural used elsewhere already to refer to those “chief priests” that were not currently filling the role as the high priest, such as in Acts 4:23. All of these together are said to have “heard these things.”
The report is from the officers who had gone to collect the apostles. One can almost see it, “Well, we went to the prison, the guards were standing right there. The door was shut, bolted, and locked. We unlocked it and went in… but nobody was there!” It was as if they had been beamed out by Scotty. There wasn’t a trace of them, nor was there a trace of any escape. They were just gone. Because of this, Luke finishes the verse with, “they wondered what the outcome would be.”
It is the same word used by Luke in verse 2:12, diaporeó. It comes from dia (through) and aporeó, to be perplexed. As such, it is an intensive word signifying very perplexed or perplexed through and through. This group of leaders was completely confounded at what had happened, and they wondered what it all meant.
Life application: None of what is said here is without purpose. These men, the leaders of the nation, had all been gathered together to have a trial concerning the actions of the apostles. It is perfectly clear that they were locked away awaiting that trial, and it is fully evident that they were not where they were locked away.
As this is so, it is a sign to them that they should take these things to heart and to consider the force behind the actions. As will be seen, the apostles will be questioned concerning their actions at the temple, but the issue of them being brought out of prison will not even be addressed. No question concerning it will be raised, or at least as is recorded by Luke.
This exclusion of such an important and relevant question tells us all we need to know concerning the state of their hearts. They were unwilling to ask because they already knew the truth of what had happened. Jesus had broken through the greatest place of bondage of all, death. They were fully aware of this –
“Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, ‘Tell them, “His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.” 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.’ 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” Matthew 28:11-15
Why should they ask about such a simple matter as a group of apostles being brought out of a locked prison cell when He had been brought out of the pit of Sheol itself? The answer for them would have simply been a further indictment upon them that they did not want openly exposed.
What is unstated in the Bible is often as telling as that which is stated. Because of this, and because it is recorded and considered a reliable document of actual history, there is no reason to not accept what is being stated. It is also a reason why such things no longer need to occur today. The record that it can be done is sufficient to tell us that when it is prophesied to be done again (meaning the rapture of the church), it will occur as prophesied.
Until then, we are to live by faith in what the recorded witness, the Holy Bible, states. And so, let us do so. Let us have faith in the word and never equivocate on our proclamation of it being the literal truth of God.
Heavenly Father, Your word says that someday Your faithful – of all of the ages – will be taken to glory. Some are in the grave. Some will be in prison on that day. Some will be in their offices working. There will be people around the world in seemingly impossible states of confinement or simply leading their lives in a normal way. And yet, they will be taken out and brought to You. It is a marvelous hope that we possess. Thank You for the surety of this. Your word proclaims it, and it shall be. Hallelujah and Amen!