Each day the apostles met at one of the temple gates. They talked to the crowds about Jesus. Many believed them and became followers of Christ. Others were scared of getting into trouble. They did not get too close, but listened anyway.
The religious leaders grew angrier and angrier about all of this. They were very jealous. They did not want to ever hear about Jesus again. Yet more people were believing in him than ever! How was it possible?
Finally, they ordered the guards to throw the apostles into prison. During the night, God sent an angel of the Lord to them. He opened the prison door and said, “Go your way. You are free. Go back and tell all the people at the temple about the new life in Jesus.”
The apostles went back to the temple, just as the angel had told them. In the morning, the chief priests heard the apostles had escaped. Now they were even more worried than ever.
“Those men you’re looking for are talking to people at the temple,” someone told them. So the captain of the guard brought the apostles back to the priests. There they were questioned. “We told you not to teach about Jesus anymore!”
Peter and the apostles said, “We must obey God rather than men. Jesus lives again. Through Him we can now be forgiven if we turn to God. We know this because we have seen it happen. Besides, you are the ones who hung Him on a cross.”
Some of the religious leaders became so angry when they heard this. They wanted to kill the apostles right there. A certain wise Pharisee told them, “You would be better off letting these men go. If they are making things up, the people who follow them will stop believing. If this is from God, it will last and be real no matter what you do. Be careful, or you might even find yourselves fighting God.”
The religious leaders could do no more than have the apostles whipped. They were finally allowed to go. The apostles walked home. They were happy because they had been thought worthy to suffer for Jesus. The very next day they kept right on teaching about Jesus.