In response to the high priest’s question in v.28 the apostles reply with this:
“We must obey God rather than people. The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these events, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him”.
(Acts 5.29.32, NET)
The response is so good, isn’t it?
The apostles make abundantly clear that their priority is to obey God first and foremost (v.29, 32). Then they clearly and simply present the Gospel as the major motivating factor behind their preaching and teaching. They say that man is sinful and in need of a Saviour and Jesus died because of this (whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree). Using the specific example of the council’s role in the crucifixion, tied to the prophetic imagery of Deuteronomy 21.22-23, would have made this point crystal clear to the apostle’s audience. Jesus was then raised (God exalted him to his right hand as Leader and Savior) and now as a result of this man has the opportunity for forgiveness and salvation (to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins).
Very simply, the apostles were obeying God and preaching in the name of Jesus because of the Gospel, the truths of the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus and what it means for those who hear and believe.
As with innumerable things in our lives, the Gospel gives us a why.
Why were the apostles comfortable being questioned and interrogated here?
Why do we love, forgive, seek justice, offer mercy, and find grace?
Why do we know that even in our darkest hour things will be ok?
Why do we have an inner strength for today and a bright hope for tomorrow, despite what may be going on around us?
The Good News of God in Jesus that despite the fact that we are sinful and fallen and broken, Jesus died to pay the price our sin deserves and to offer you forgiveness and salvation.