While the followers of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit, the priests and teachers of the law were full of something quite different: jealousy. Consequently, they ordered that the apostles be arrested and thrown into jail. At some point during the night, the angel of the Lord came to the apostles and released them from custody, and commanded that they resume their teaching in the temple courts the next morning.
When morning came, they were once again in the temple courts teaching about the “new life”. As the Sanhedrin assembled, none of them had noticed what was going in the courts outside, and they sent for the apostles to be brought in, only to discover that the jail was locked up tight, the guards still posted at the door… and the cells were empty. Suddenly someone comes running in with the shocking news that their prisoners were out in the temple courts teaching another crowd of people!
It is hard to miss the fact that God has intervened in events to make complete fools of the Jewish leaders.
Upon hearing this, the captain, who was second in authority only to the high priest, took charge of his officers and went after the apostles, yet even now, enraged as he must have been at this humiliation, the captain dared not use force against the apostles, for fear of his own people. The apostles came along quietly.
Would anyone in the Sanhedrin, the wisest of all religious bodies, recognize what was going on; would anyone be able to see clearly enough through their jealousy and avarice to notice that the hand of God was against them? God was working His eternal purpose through these apostles, and no human agent, not even the devil they were serving, would stop these men until their mission was complete. Needless to say, there is a lesson for us in this story.