Acts 5:25-28

25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!”

26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned.

27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them,

28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”

in this name (v.28) — the high priest refused to speak Jesus’ name

you have filled (v.28) — the tense indicates “and it continues to be filled”

bring this Man’s blood on us (v.28) — the verb is used in the New Testament (2 Peter 2:1, 5) only to indicate retributive judgment

These judges have to take the place, so to speak, of culprits, and defend themselves against a charge of murder, brought against them by the prisoners arraigned before them. They refer doubtless to Peter’s words in 2:23, 36; 3:15 and especially those in 4:10-12. We must remember, in this connection, that they and their followers had accepted all responsibility for the crucifixion of Christ before Pilate (Matthew 27:25). We notice how carefully they avoided all reference to the miraculous deliverance of the prisoners from the prison-house. — Walker, pages 125-126


This opening question betrays the weakness of the high priest’s position in the contest. He had indeed strictly ordered the apostles not to teach in this name, but they had boldly declared that they would do so nevertheless — and he had been forced to dismiss their case.

As to filling Jerusalem with this doctrine, his own guilt gave him an exaggerated idea of what the apostles were accomplishing, for Messiah’s followers were still so much in the minority that after the stoning of Stephen they could be driven from Jerusalem by persecution.

Furthermore, the apostles were not seeking to bring the guilt of Christ’s blood upon the rulers. The very opposite was true.

The bitter antipathy of the high priest against Christ and the apostles is seen in his terms: “your doctrine” and “this man.” He does not even say what the doctrine is nor name the name of Christ. This is the first example of that avoidance of the name of Christ by the Jews which later became so general among them. In the Talmud, for example, He is most frequently referred to as peloni: “so and so.” — Stam, pages 194-195.

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