In the days and weeks following Pentecost, Jesus’ followers became so popular that the religious leaders felt threatened and put some of them in prison for teaching in the temple. While they were in prison an angel visited them and miraculously freed them. They then promptly returned to the temple and started teaching again. Upon discovering this, the temple police arrested them and brought them before the High Priest.
The High Priest interrogated them, “Weren’t you told not to teach in this name? But here you are, spreading your teaching throughout Jerusalem. And whats more, you continue to blame us for this man’s death.”
Peter and the Apostles responded, saying they needed to obey God before they obeyed human authority, and that the Jewish leaders were responsible for Jesus’ death. They said, “God intends to bring Israel to a radical rethinking of our lives and to a complete forgiveness of our sins.”
The religious council was furious and they wanted to kill them, but an older council member, Gamaliel, said to the council in private, “Here’s my advice. In this case, just let these men go. Ignore them. If this is just another movement arising from human enthusiasm, it will die out soon enough. But then again, if God is in this, you won’t be able to stop it – unless, of course, you’re ready to fight against God!”
The council was convinced, so they brought the Jesus-followers back in. They were flogged, again told not to speak in the name of Jesus, and released. As they left the council, they were filled with joy at being considered worthy to suffer for the sake of His name.
And constantly, whether in public, in the temple, or in their homes, they kept teaching and proclaiming Jesus as the Anointed One, the Liberating King.