Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,…
The success of the Christian cause had the effect which might have been anticipated; it aroused the intense hostility of the enemies of the Lord, and their bitter opposition found vent in a speedy arrest and imprisonment of the apostles (vers. 17, 18). But man's adversity was God's opportunity, and we have: -
I. DIVINE INTERPOSITION. (Ver. 19.) How vain all bolts and bars to shut out those whom God would have to enter, to shut in those whom he would have escape! The hour had come for his interposing hand, and all the contrivances of man's wrath were broken through as if they were but "the spider's most attenuated thread." We often wish for the direct interposition of God now; we often ask for it; we often wonder that it does not come, thinking that the hour for Divine manifestation must have arrived. The duty and the wisdom of true piety are
(1) to ask God to deliver in his own time and way;
(2) to expect his delivering hand at some time and in some way;
(3) to wait in patient endurance till his time has come;
(4) to recognize his gracious hand in whatever ways he may be pleased to act.
II. A DIVINE INSTRUCTION. "Go, stand and speak... all the words of this life" (ver. 20). Doubtless the apostles well understood what was the tenor of their commission. They were to speak all those words which would enlighten their fellow-citizens on the great subject of the new spiritual life which they had begun to live. They who stand now in the relation of religious teachers to the men of their own time, may take these words of the heavenly messenger as a Divine instruction to themselves. They are to "speak all the words of this life;" i.e.
(1) to explain and enforce the truth, that beneath and beyond the life which is material and temporal is the life which is spiritual and eternal;
(2) to make known the conditions on which that life is to be entered upon - repentance toward God, and faith in a crucified and risen Savior;
(3) to make clear the way by which that life is to be sustained - by "abiding in him;"
(4) to assure all disciples that "this life" is to be perpetuated in the other world.
III. THE DIVINE DEMAND. "We ought to obey God rather than man" (ver. 29). God demands our first obedience - that is the teaching of his Word; it is also the response of our own conscience. We agree, when we consider it, that God has a claim, transcendently and immeasurably superior to all others, on our allegiance. That Divine One who called us ourselves into existence; by whom we have been endowed with all our faculties; in whom "we live, and move, and have our being;" from whom we have received every single blessing we have known; who is the righteous and holy Sovereign of all souls throughout the universe of being; on whose will absolutely depends our future destiny ; - to him we owe our allegiance in such degree, that any claims man may have upon us are "as nothing, and less than nothing." There are many reasons why we should yield ourselves to his service - the example of the worthiest and the best of our kind; the excellency, dignity, exaltation of that service; the present and future advantages we gain thereby; the awful issues of disloyalty and persistent rejection, etc. But there is one thought which should weigh the most, and be of itself sufficient - " we ought to obey God." We cannot decline to do so without violating the plain teaching of our moral judgment. When we do yield ourselves to him, we put ourselves in the right and have the strong and blessed sanction of our conscience. We should hear the voice within, saying daily, hourly, in tones which will not be silenced, "You ought to obey God." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
WEB: But the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy,