April 25, 2019
Acts 5:17-26 New Life Version (NLV)
How would you describe the emotion of jealousy? When it is used against you it feels like opposition and when it rises up in you it feels like rejection. In the Bible, the word jealousy has both a positive and negative meaning. God is described at times as a jealous God, but it is always positive and based on his concern for us because we belong to him. God’s jealousy causes him to be angry at sin and then turn to restore people to himself because he cannot bear to be separated like a Groom for his Bride. When the Word speaks of God’s jealousy it always has to do with his faithful protection for those whom he loves; the depths he will go to call his children back into his care.
Human jealousy is a result of sin in the heart; it is negative and can bring destruction to relationships. Jealousy is fear based and is awakened in humans by something that may exalt others over self or provide greater pleasures or advantages for which we desire for ourselves. Think about the jealousy that rose up in Cain over Abel, brothers over Joseph, and Saul over David. St. Augustine once said, “He that is jealous is not in love.” The Apostle Paul teaches, “Love is not jealous…” (1 Cor 13:4). In our passage today, Christ’s new missionaries are flowing in the anointed power of God to heal people and the Temple priests and religious leaders are jealous. Instead of acknowledging Christ and joining with the Spirit-led apostles, they try to fight them and diminish them. But, when God is in something and he sends us, no weapon formed against us will prosper. So although these leaders may initially look like they have the upper hand and they think they are representing God, the Lord reveals otherwise and the Truth continues to be preached. Don’t allow jealousy to have dominion over you; stay connected to Christ because he can be trusted with your heart as you serve him.
Acts 5:17-26 The Missionaries Are Put in Prison
17 The head religious leader heard this (about the healing power outflowing the apostles). Some of the religious group who believe no one will be raised from the dead also heard of the people being healed. They became very jealous. 18 They took hold of the missionaries and put them in prison. 19 An angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison in the night and let them out. The angel said to them, 20 “Go, stand where you have been standing in the house of God. Keep on telling the people about this new life.”
21 When Peter and John heard this, they went in the house of God early in the morning and began to teach. When the head religious leader and those with him had come, they gathered the men of the court and the leaders of the Jews together. Then they sent to have the missionaries brought to them from the prison. 22 When the soldiers got there, they did not find them in prison. They went back and told the court. 23 The soldiers said, “We found the door of the prison locked and the soldiers watching the doors. When we opened the door, we found no one inside.”
24 When the religious leaders and the leader of the house of God heard this, they were much troubled as to what might happen. 25 Then someone came and told them, “The men you put in prison are now standing in the house of God and teaching the people.” 26 The leader of the house of God took his men and got them. They did not hurt the missionaries because they were afraid the people would throw stones at them.
Prayer: Lord, I stand against any spirit of jealousy that would try to attached itself to me. I resist it in Christ and his anointing, by drawing near to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.