|INSIGHTS FROM THE SCRIPTURE:
For the third time so far in the book, Luke stops to summarize community life, signaling the importance of a healthy body of believers. This summary has two new features. In what seems to be a contradiction, Luke explains that none of the rest (of the unbelievers hearing the news of Jesus) will join them, and yet great numbers are being added daily. Perhaps what Luke means here is that, because of the incredible healings and the high standards (think Ananias and Sapphira), people realize that one doesnt join this group lightly. This is a big commitment. Believers may be persecuted. Yet, for those very same reasons, people are attracted to the community. The love for each other, the high standards, the obvious powerall these things are attractions. The apostles and their band win both fear and respect.
The second new feature is the added information on healing, particularly the healing ministry of Peter. News spreads beyond Jerusalem and people come from surrounding villages to be touched, and even to just fall under Peters shadow. And Luke declares that they are all cured! (Acts 5:16). The early church displays an incredible capacity for healing. In Acts 19:11-12, even handkerchiefs and aprons that have touched Pauls skin are used to heal people. Good news about Jesus that doesnt include an answer to the worlds misery is hardly good news. Salvation, both then and now, means rescue from physical ailment and political oppressors as well as the individual healing of ones soul and forgiveness of sin.
All thisthe healing power and the throng of convertsthreatens the temple leadership. Luke says they are jealous. They arrest the apostles. We cannot be sure how many are arrested. Only Peter is named, and at least two others join him. Its probable that most of the apostles are thrown in the local jail. In some ways, this arrest echoes the arrest in chapter 4, but again there are new features. One is the arrival of the angel of the Lord.
Page 9 of 11