Sgt York, old and tired. Probably ready for Jesus at this point.
Sunday, 6 March 2022
Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. Acts 5:26
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).
The apostles were just noted as “standing in the temple and teaching the people” when they were supposed to be locked up in the prison. With that being the case, Luke next records, “Then the captain went with the officers.”
It doesn’t say why the captain has gone with the officers, but the reason seems rather obvious. Anytime there is something sensational or exciting going on, it will add to the spice of life. He was certainly truly curious about the matter and wanted to be in the know concerning it. And more, his men had already been left looking inept or maybe even in collusion with the apostles for them to have been let out of the prison. He probably did not want any repeat in bumbling the matter as had taken place. And so, he, along with the officers, “brought them without violence.”
One can see these officials walking up and, without any force or threats, saying, “You must come with us to the Sanhedrin.” The apostles might have said in front of all of the people, “OK.” There is no hint of any rebellious words or actions. It is a lawful order from those appointed over them, it doesn’t in any way contradict their obligations to the Lord, and so they complied without any conflict at all.
The reason for words from, rather than rough actions by, the temple officers is next explained by the words, “for they feared the people.” This fear of the people is seen elsewhere, such as in Luke 20 –
“Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him 2 and spoke to Him, saying, ‘Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?’
3 But He answered and said to them, ‘I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me: 4 The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?’
5 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘If we say, “From heaven,” He will say, “Why then did you not believe him?” 6 But if we say, “From men,” all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.’ 7 So they answered that they did not know where it was from.” Luke 20:1-7
Due to the passion of the people for the word of God from His apostles and prophets, it was a risky thing to just come against His sent messengers. Depending on the size of the crowd, these temple officers could easily have been overrun or surrounded. From there, their fate would have been sealed. This is what they feared, “lest they should be stoned.”
Exactly what the leaders feared when they challenged the teachings of John the Baptist, so they also feared concerning the teachings of the apostles. Stoning could certainly be a painful and possibly lengthy means of execution. Unless someone was as adept at throwing as Sandy Koufax, it may be a while before anyone got in a headshot suitable for knocking the person out. Until that happened, there would be agony on the checkout line. The officers hoped to avoid this.
Life application: Crowds are a hard thing to control. And when there are passions at work within a crowd, anything can happen, and it can happen very quickly. This is especially true because once something bad happens, it may be from a part of the crowd that is unseen in another part of the crowd. Without knowing exactly what occurred, people may assume the wrong thing and suddenly pandemonium erupts.
This must always be considered. In a crowd of otherwise peaceful but passionate protestors, miscreants may step in and purposefully get the crowd’s passions inflamed. In doing so, they are actually using an unsuspecting crowd to work against itself. This was seen in the US capitol on January 6, 2021. Government agents were planted in the crowd, and left-wing terrorists were also there. These incited the people as a pretext to have the crowd subdued, arrested, and persecuted.
If you are going to participate in a demonstration, it is good to be aware of your surroundings and be ready to identify such wicked dements and provocateurs. You can then point them out before they can cause you and your peaceful agenda much harm. The tactics of the left have been used by communists for many years. These are now coming to peaceful nations, and they are quickly being overrun by really bad people.
Be aware and be observant. Above all, however, be ready to share the good news about Jesus. One never knows who will be receptive to the life-changing news that He has overcome the world, and through Him, the evil heart can be changed.
Lord God, it is a fallen and wicked world, but there are opportunities to share the good news with people. Help us to be responsible and do so. The book is written, and someday the ball will drop. When it does, chaos on a global scale will follow. But we can still get the news out before that terrible day comes. Help us in this. Amen.