“But an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail during the night, and said, ‘Go and stand in the temple complex, and tell the people all about this life.’” (Acts 5:19-20)
We can only imagine the tensions the apostles were feeling in that jail cell. The high priest and his cohorts had taken action. They rounded up these so-called “apostles” and threw them in jail. They were to be tried the next day. To that point the apostles had pretty much been unfettered. They met with the thousands of converts daily at Solomon’s colonnade in the temple area. The priests probably had no problem with that until they learned what these guys were teaching. Then the feathers hit the fan. The high priest intended to exact a pound of flesh from each of them. When the apostles saw the temple police coming, they were seeing authority at work. All this could have created tension, but there is no indication this disturbed them. It seems more likely that tension would have come from the fact that they were forcibly separated from those hungry for the word.
If these tensions were in fact there, God resolved them during the night. He sent an angel who opened the doors and told them to go to the temple and teach. They were to tell the people “all about this life.”
This miraculous release of the apostles was significant as one event in a recurring theme in Acts. The theme is best stated in the last two words, “Without hindrance.” Time and again, the Spirit of God removed barriers, opened doors, and overcame other limitations to the gospel and to those who preached it. Even from prison for as many as five years, Paul kept preaching the gospel.
There is an important truth we must not miss. The Holy Spirit is always at work removing barriers, opening doors, and overcoming limitations. We may see barriers, closed doors, and limitations all around us as we work for the furtherance of the gospel. What we need to remember is that none of them are limitations for the Spirit of God, and He will either take them away, open them up, or show us how to use them for His purposes – all for the glory of God. There is more than one form of release.
Lord, If even the darkness is as light to You, then none of the barriers we face are capable of limiting You. We trust You to show us how we are to serve, so that our service experiences the release of the Holy Spirit. Amen.