“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said.
For the Jerusalem priests and the court of the Sanhedrin, it was worse than déjà vu. They had thought killing Jesus would close the book on his influence. But now, instead of just one teacher, there were many, increasing in number daily, offering healing in Jesus’ name. And whenever someone received healing, they also were hearing the testimony from the healers about how the death of Jesus had come about, and about his resurrection.
The very same religious leaders who had publicly led the jeers and insults at Jesus’ cross now found that Jesus’ followers dared to remind people of what the religious establishment had done. So they threatened the apostles: “Stop now! Do not talk about this Jesus anymore! You’re making us look guilty; you’re causing trouble and dissension.” And they backed up their threats with brutal beatings and imprisonment.
Sometimes cover-up tactics work. Threats, favors, payoffs, blackmail, intimidation of all sorts—people in positions of power can often use these to escape accountability. In this case, power from the Holy Spirit emboldened the apostles to keep talking.
In any case, the forceful cover-up approach is not repentance.
Do we engage in demanding silence and threaten retaliation to protect ourselves?
Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for the ways I’ve been trying to cover up my sins. Then release me to hear the good news and be healed. In your name, Amen.
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