Father MacEvilly On Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41

Act 5:27  And when they (i.e., the officers from vs 26) had brought them (the Apostles), they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them,
Act 5:28  Saying: Commanding, we commanded you that you should not teach in this name. And behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine: and you have a mind to bring the blood of this man upon us.

Commanding, we commanded you, that is, “we most strictly commanded you.”  The phrase is read interrogatively in some Greek copies: “Did we not strictly command you?”

That you should not teach in this name.  The name of Jesus, or proclaim His doctrine.

And you have a mind to bring the blood of this man upon us. Make us guilty of the crime of having murdered him, make us responsible for his death.

Act 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answering, said: We ought to obey God rather than men.

In a conflict of injunctions, God is to be obeyed first, and man’s commands if opposed to His, utterly disregarded.  The Apostles thus inform the Sanhedrin of their Divine commission to preach the Gospel.

Act 5:30  The God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, whom you put to death, hanging him upon a tree.

The God of our Fathers conveys an allusion to the several prophecies regarding Jesus.  Hath raised up Jesus from the dead (3:15; 4:10).  Hanging Him on a tree, the tree of the Cross.  The antithesis is striking: They put Him to death but God raised Him up.

Act 5:31  Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be Prince and Saviour. to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins.

Exalted in his glorious Ascension.  To be Prince and Savior.  These two words are supposed by some eminent Commentators to convey one idea, “The Prince of Salvation,” the author of our salvation, as expressed by the Apostle (Heb 2:10).  As “Prince,” He exercises His power and dominion now seated at the right hand of His Father, in giving the means of salvation, in tendering the grace of repentance, and bestowing on men the remission of their sins.  St Peter having, fearlessly charged them, without in the slightest degree, extenuating the grossest guilt in crucifying their Messiah, here holds out hopes of pardon.  From motives of prudence, however, h confines the great blessings of salvation to “Israel.”  It might not be prudent for him at present to extend the blessings to the Gentiles.  He does so, however, later on (11:18).

Act 5:32  And we are witnesses of these things: and the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to all that obey him.

We are witnesses of these things, viz.: Our Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension, and the other wonderful events of His sacred life (1:8-22; 2:32).

And the Holy Ghost.  So is also the Holy Ghost (a witness), who could testify only to truth.  To these things he bore testimony by descending on those miraculously with His several gifts of tongues, &c., Who obey Him, and embrace the faith preached by the Apostles, whom He guided and inspired.

Act 5:40  And calling in the apostles, after they had scourged them, they charged them that they should not speak at all in the name of Jesus. And they dismissed them.

Scourged them.  Inflicted the number of stripes allowed by law (1 Cor 11:24).  Thus was verified our Lord’s prediction in their regard (Matt 10:17).  It was meant to subject them to humiliation and cast a stigma on the Christian profession.

The council and reasoning of Gamaliel (in vss 34-39) in this famous dilemna were excellent in regard to this present particular case.  But, taken in the general application, by no means admissible, liable to be abused by heretics, as well as by the enemies of religion and social order, to claim full unrestrained liberty for the propagation, and unrestricted practice of  immoral teachings and practices, which those charged with authority in Church and State have a perfect right, nay, are bound, in virtue of their office, to prevent and check by every legitimate means.

Act 5:41  And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.

Accounted worthy.  Deserving of the high Christian privilege of being assimilated to their Lord, who suffered ignominy and reproaches in the cause of justice.

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One Response to Father MacEvilly On Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41

  1. Pingback: Commentaries for the Third Sunday of Easter, Year C | stjoeofoblog

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