5:19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!”
26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “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!”
29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
My daughter is playing baseball this summer on an all girls team in a league with mostly boys teams. Most of the girls on her team including her have never played much if any baseball before. Unfortunately I had to miss her first game but last Thursday night I was able to get to her second game.
They lost but they didn't have to. They have one glaring weakness in their game: base running. They are fast girls. Many of them play hockey. My daughter can run like the wind. She has always been fast. Speed is the greatest asset her team has. So if they are fast why is base running their biggest weakness? Simple - Fear.
When they hit a double they stop at first because they are afraid they won't make it to second. When they hit a grounder and the throw to first sails over the glove of the first baseman they don't run to second on the error because they value being safe over being aggressive. Fear.
I took my daughter aside half way through the game and explained to her that speed is their best weapon.
She said "I don't want to get out."
I said "The goal of the game is not to be safe on second. The goal of the game is to get home."
I encouraged her to run and to encourage her teammates to run. The next inning they got a little braver and scored 5 runs.
What is my point? This morning as I was reading the story again of the prison break it occurred to me how illogical the story is. They talk about Jesus, they get arrested, threatened and released. They keep talking about Jesus and get arrested again and thrown in jail. An angel releases them in the night and tells them to go back and keep preaching. They get arrested again.
Follow this: It is only illogical if the goal is to avoid being arrested. It is entirely logical if the goal is to relentlessly confront the city with the truth about Jesus.
Do you see the parallel? Often we forget the why. My daughter and her friends felt successful if they were safely on a base. They valued safety over the pursuit of the purpose of the game which was to get home. No points are awarded for getting runners safely on base.
As Christians personal safety is not the goal. Having 2.3 children and quietly going about our own business in a world that has little idea about Jesus and His plans for us and promises to us is not the goal.
The angel released them from prison and told them to go right back to the temple and preach knowing it would get them arrested again. That didn't matter. The goal was not to avoid being arrested. The goal was to make Jesus known.
We're all living every day. We're all breathing air and consuming food and water but why? What is the purpose? Are we playing it too safe? Are we making personal safety and personal concerns number one or are we aggressively in pursuit of going Home?
There is not much point in being in the game if we have forgotten the point of the game. When the game ends and I'm safely on base it won't count. Only those who get home are counted in baseball. Only those who help others get Home are counted in heaven.
Jesus. He is the point.