Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.” Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people. (Act 5:21-26)
“Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.” The high priest and the Sadducees won’t stop. As perplexed as they are, as concerned as they are about what this will come to, they won’t stop. Neither will the apostles. In the morning they go back to the temple as if nothing has happened. They preach, and the people listen. When the captain and the guards come the apostles follow them to trial, they see another opportunity to preach. They aren’t afraid of the council either. In fact, the council seems to be the party that is afraid. Even the soldiers are in fear they will be stoned if they try to arrest the apostles. But the fear does nothing to wisen the council. They still want to shut the disciples up.
One wonders why the apostles bothered to go. This council hadn’t shown any willingness to believe. Why preach to them again? I think this is a problem today. We think the word of God should result in converts. If we don’t see people converting in droves we assume that the word is not being preached rightly, that a person isn’t doing his job. But this isn’t necessarily so. Definitely we pray that the people will be converted. And sure the disciples understood that the Holy Spirit can even work faith amongst the senate of the people of Israel, but even if it doesn’t create faith among them God accomplishes his purpose with his word. The disciples knew that. There job was to preach, not make converts. To speak the word of God even to those who did not want to hear it. This they would do.