The apostles and the early Christians did not reconcile their views with the religious leaders of their day. Although the Pharisees were the main opponents of Jesus, the apostles’ main opponents were the Sadducees.
Peter and John had done a miracle of healing a lame man, attracting many people to them. Then they preached about Jesus to the astonished crowd, converting many. The Sadducees had put the apostles in prison when they found them in the temple preaching about Jesus. But, by the time they had arrested them, they had already spread their teachings to many people.
The Sadducees, like the Pharisees, had opposed Jesus when he had his earthly ministry and had helped to kill him. The Sadducees and the other religious leaders were afraid that the apostles would popularize the idea that they were guilty of crucifying Jesus, who had done nothing wrong. Jesus’ teachings were also contrary to their teachings.
They told them to stop preaching about Jesus, but Peter told them that they should obey God rather than men, in essence. The Sadducees did not want to do anything serious to them, because the people thought that the miracle they did was an act of God. So they threatened them, commanded them to stop preaching about Jesus, and let them go.
The apostles kept on ministering to the people and healing people in the name of Jesus, violating the command of the Sadducees. Because of this, the Sadducees put them in prison again. An angel from God freed them and instructed them to preach in the temple to the people. So, they went and did so.
The Sadducees called for them, but the people they sent came empty-handed and told them that the apostles were not there. When someone told them that the apostles were in the temple, the went and brought them to the council. They brought them without violence, because they were afraid of the people. The Pharisees had been more popular with the common people than the Sadducees, so they had to be even more careful with the people than the Pharisees had been.
The council asked them why they had disobeyed them and accused them of trying to bring Jesus’ blood on them. Peter preached to them and repeated his statement that they should obey God rather than men. He accused them of crucifying Jesus, but also said that God had raised him from the dead. He presented himself, the rest of the apostles, and the Holy Spirit as witnesses to his resurrection. The Sadducees were angered and discussed how they could kill them.
Then Gamaliel, a Pharisee in the council, a famous teacher of the law, commanded the apostles to be put out. He argued that if they were not of God, that it would fail. He also told them about the movements of Theudas and Judas, that eventually failed. He said that the apostles’ movement would fail if it were not of God. If it were of God, he said, then we should not try to go against God. He convinced the council not to kill them, so the beat the apostles and let them go.
The apostles would not give in because they believed that God had called them to preach about Jesus and to spread Christianity to the whole world. Even though they were threatened, they kept on preaching, saying that it is better to follow God rather than men. The Sadducees would not give in to the apostles’ teaching either because they would not admit their guilt in crucifying Jesus, or say that he was the Son of God. They were followers of the law of Moses, but they would not follow Jesus, of whom Moses pointed to.