Binding Broken Hearts

Introducing Jesus to Those Who Need Him Most

header photo

The Power of the Word - Part 11

As he stood in front of the assembled group, he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He kept speaking as he turned his head to get a better look. A group of temple guards strode purposefully in their direction with the High Priest in the center desperately trying to keep up. Peter had seen that look in the High Priest’s eyes before, and he knew what was coming. He caught John’s eyes and wordlessly motioned in the direction of the oncoming fury.

As the storming group of temple guards drew near, the people who had been listening intently to Peter’s teaching began to scatter. Soon, only the apostles remained as the welcome party. They all nodded their heads at the High Priest as a sign of respect, but the High Priest didn’t acknowledge them. He began shouting orders to the temple guards to arrest all the Jesus followers and take them to the common prison. The temple guards surrounded the apostles and escorted them off the temple grounds to the prison.

In the prison cell, the apostles knelt and prayed. They sang a couple of songs and then settled in to sleep. They hadn’t been asleep long when an extremely bright light flooded the prison cell and woke them all up. Once their eyes were accustomed to the light, they could see an angel motioning to them to follow. The angel silently opened every gate in the prison, and they all walked untouched to the city street and freedom.

Once they were outside, the angel told them, “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” (Acts 5:20) Then, the angel disappeared.

They didn’t think twice. “And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught.” (Acts 5:21)

While John was taking his turn at teaching, Peter sat in the back of the group wondering what the High Priest’s face would look like when he found the apostles were missing from the secured prison. He figured he wouldn’t have to wait long to find out. And he was right.

Soon the sounds of boots marching across the marble floor of the temple could be heard. All eyes turned in the direction of oncoming temple guards. Once again the people scattered and the apostles remained in place waiting for their escorts to arrive.

This time the temple guards did not escort them to the common prison. Instead, the apostles were led into the High Priest’s council room. Peter could sense the tension in the room as soon as he entered. He tried to hold back a smile. It really was pointless for the High Priest to keep fighting against the work of God and the movements of the Holy Spirit. Peter wondered when he would learn to stop wasting his time and energy. More importantly, Peter prayed that the High Priest would see the truth and embrace the Savior.

The council members sat rigid straight behind a long table staring sternly as the apostles were moved into a line in front of them. Peter looked kindly into the eyes of every council member, nodding slightly before he moved on to the next person. When Peter’s eyes met the person sitting at the very right of the table, he paused. It was Gamaliel, one of the most highly respected teachers of Jewish law. This was the first time Peter had seen him up close. He nodded slightly to Gamaliel as he had done to all the other council members, and started to focus back on the High Priest. But Gamaliel held his gaze – almost as if Gamaliel was measuring him. Eventually Gamaliel nodded back with a satisfied look on his face. Peter wondered what test he had just passed.

He didn’t have much time to think about it because the High Priest announced that the council session was beginning. Peter could see the vein in the High Priest’s forehead bulging. Apparently the High Priest was angrier than the last time they had met.

“Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” (Acts 5:28)

The High Priest sat back and waited. Peter looked at the other apostles. They nodded. Peter looked back at the High Priest and took the opportunity to give a short sermon. Maybe someone on the council would be convicted by the Holy Spirit as he spoke and become a Jesus follower as well.

Peter began, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (Acts 5:29-32)

When the mini sermon was over, Peter glanced over at Gamaliel. Gamaliel gave an ever-so-slight smile. Peter’s attention was dragged back to the High Priest who had leapt to his feet and was shouting about how these Jesus followers should be put to death just like their leader. Confusion and clamor erupted in the council room. Until one calm voice penetrated the cacophony.

“Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. . . . And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” (Acts 5:35, 38-39)

As Gamaliel finished speaking, he caught Peter’s eye for a brief moment and then returned to his seat.

The Word of God had been given to Peter and the apostles that they were to go and preach about Jesus regardless of the circumstances they faced. That Word was filled with the power the apostles needed to stand firm in obedience even when the ranking officials of the Jewish nation commanded them otherwise. That power helped them stand strong in the midst of the beating they received before being released from that council room. And that power kept them active in the mission given to them.

“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:42)

This is why Binding Broken Hearts is passionate about getting God’s Word into prisons and into the hands of inmates who so desperately need that power to stand strong and witness for Jesus in the midst of the darkness that surrounds them every day. Because these are men and women who need Jesus most.

Perhaps you want to help spread the power of His Word to an inmate who desperately needs its power. If so, please consider becoming a financial partner with us. Click here to see how you can help.

Go Back