Unlikely Leaders


The True Guilt of the Jews Revealed

The apostles spoke plainly of the Jews’ great sin in putting to death the Prince of life, but they were careful not to drive their hearers to despair. “You denied the Holy One and the Just,” Peter said, “and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.” “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.” He told them that the Holy Spirit was calling them to repent. Only by faith in the One whom they had crucified could they have their sins forgiven. ULe 23.6

“Repent therefore and be converted,” Peter pleaded, “that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” “God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” ULe 24.1

Many were waiting for this testimony, and when they heard it, they believed and joined forces with those who accepted the gospel. ULe 24.2

While the disciples were speaking, “the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” ULe 24.3

The priests had spread the report that the disciples had stolen Christ’s body while the Roman guard slept. It is not surprising that they were unhappy when they heard Peter and John preaching the resurrection of the One they had murdered. The Sadducees felt that their most cherished doctrine was in danger. ULe 24.4

Pharisees and Sadducees agreed that if these new teachers were not stopped, their own influence would be in greater danger than when Jesus was on earth. So with the help of a number of Sadducees, the captain of the temple arrested Peter and John and put them in prison. ULe 24.5

The Jewish rulers had received more than enough evidence that the apostles were speaking and acting under divine inspiration, but they firmly resisted the truth. Though at times they had been convinced that Christ was the Son of God, they had repressed that conviction and had crucified Him. Now God was giving them another opportunity to turn to Him. But the Jewish teachers refused to admit that the men charging them with crucifying Christ were speaking by the Holy Spirit’s direction. ULe 24.6

They became even more determined not to admit that they had been wrong. It was not that they could not yield. They could, but would not. They persistently rejected light and silenced the convictions of the Spirit, and their rebellion intensified with each new act of resistance against the message God had given His servants to proclaim. ULe 24.7