And as they spoke to the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came on them,
I. THE PERSECUTORS were typical — the "priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees." Here we have —
1. Men whose tenets were discredited — the Sadducees.
2. Men whose prerogative was invaded — the priests.
3. The subordinate, notoriously accessible to bribes — "the captain of the temple," the servant of the priests and the Sadducees, who would desire what would please them. Is there not here a type of the agency employed in all religious persecutions? Outraged orthodoxy, slighted privilege, and vile sycophancy have distinguished themselves in many ways and in various combinations in the attacks made on faithful reformers and evangelists from age to age.
II. THE GROUND was typical. The persecutors were "annoyed." God was not employing them. They were unable to give any explanation. And their own cherished notions were ceasing to command the respect of the people. Has it not been ever thus, when "unauthorised" teachers have been more welcome and more successful than the official representatives of the Church? But the will of the Lord be done.
III. THE TREATMENT was typical. They were —
1. Stopped in their preaching. But "the Word" had been effectually spoken. Those who wished and had determined to hinder were restrained until God's own time.
2. Apprehended. Their reasons were not met with counter-reasons. To deal with truth by physical force! What a confession of ignorance and weakness!
3. Imprisoned. That they could do; but they could not imprison or bind the truth, nor prevent it becoming the instrument of spiritual freedom to those who received it.
IV. THE ENCOURAGEMENTS were typical. The preachers —
1. Had remained at the post of duty until forced away. They had nothing to reproach themselves with on that account.
2. Had the pleasure of knowing that the good work had progressed.
3. Had a whole night for meditation and prayer. In like manner have the Lord's persecuted servants been comforted and sustained since.
Parallel VersesKJV: And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,