Opposition in Jerusalem
Acts 5:17-42 Peter and another apostle are jailed by the High Priest, but an angel sets them free during the night. The apostles return to the Temple courts at daybreak and continue to preach. They are ordered to appear before the Jewish council again. Peter states boldly that the Sanhedrin ordered the crucifixion of Jesus, but God raised him from death to his own right hand as the saviour of the Jewish people.
Peter blamed the Jewish council for the death of Jesus (Acts 5:30)
Most members of the council want to put the apostles to death (for what they consider ‘blasphemy’), but Gamaliel – a respected member of the Sanhedrin (see Acts 22:3) – persuades them to follow a more cautious path. He reminds them that after previous popular leaders such as Theudus and Judas the Galilean were killed, their followers were soon dispersed and their ideas came to nothing (see the feature on Jewish Nationalists in Section 21).
So they have the apostles flogged and order them not to speak of Jesus again. But the apostles continue to preach the Good News in the Temple courts and in houses throughout Jerusalem.
The apostles appoint assistants to distribute food to the poor
Acts 6:1-7 About four years after Jesus’s resurrection, the Hellenistic Jews (Greek-speaking Jewish Christians from outside Judaea) complain that their widows are being overlooked by the Hebraic Jews (Hebrew-speaking Jewish Christians from Jerusalem and Judaea) during the daily distribution of bread by the Jewish believers.
The twelve disciples gather all the believers together and choose seven assistants (or ‘deacons’) to oversee the daily distribution of food to the widows and the poor. Among these seven men who are known to be “full of the Spirit” (Acts 6:3) are Stephen and Philip, both Greek-speaking Jewish believers, and Nicholas from Antioch – a Greek-speaking Gentile convert to Judaism.
Antioch in Syria (Antakya), where Nicholas lived (Acts 6:5)
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