What Did You Think of A.D. (Episode 5)?

View It and Brew It: Don’t just enjoy this artistic and spiritual nourishment all by yourself. Serve it up to others. Get folks together to watch and then discuss, using these questions.

Episode 5

Overview: While Pilate continues to hunt down his would-be assassin, the Jesus movement experiences some growing pains. Peter and John are re-arrested for sharing their faith and thrown in prison imprison again. After a miraculous escape, they go back to their preaching and are arrested again and publicly flogged. This inspires the fiery Stephen to preach in the Temple, with disastrous results.

Bible Connections: Acts 5-7.

Other Sources: Gamaliel, the council member who recommends clemency for the disciples, is a historical figure, mentioned not only in Acts 5:34 but also in Jewish historical records. He was a highly respected elder and rabbi.

Dramatic Imagination: Claudia and Cornelius were real people, but their behind-the-scenes intrigue in this episode is not in the biblical or historical record. Similarly, there were people like Boaz and Levi, the Zealots, but this subplot is fictional. Yet the activity of the Jesus-followers in this episode—including the prison escape and bold preaching—is straight out of Scripture.


  • Early in this episode Peter seemed to be facing a lot of distractions. Do you know that feeling? What sort of things distract you from what you really need to be doing?
  • If you could go back in time and sit with Peter at this time in his life, what would you say?
  • This episode had a couple of major subplots (the intrigue of Claudia and Cornelius and the “sacrifice” of the Zealot Boaz) that don’t appear in the Bible. How do you feel about that? Were these extra stories distractions, or did they anchor the biblical account in the historical context?

Dig Deeper

  • An angel springs you from the slammer, and what do you do? If you’re Peter and John, you go right back out in public and do the same thing that put you in jail to begin with. Why would they do that? Weren’t they wasting a good miracle? Wouldn’t it be better to protect themselves as leaders of this fragile new movement?
  • What was the point that Gamaliel made in the council? Was he right?
  • Do you think Stephen was fully aware of the danger involved in speaking publicly about Jesus? If so, why would he do this?


  • Do you think our current culture is more opposed to the followers of Jesus than what we’ve seen in this series, or less opposed, or about the same? Why would you say that?
  • What distractions are holding you back from serving the Lord as faithfully or as courageously as you’d like to? What can you do about this?
  • One underlying theme of this episode is influence. We see it in both the biblical and extra-biblical material. Claudia and Cornelius influence each other to work for peace. Maya encourages her father. We might even see that the violent Boaz was moved to self-sacrifice by his connection with the disciples. The wise Gamaliel influenced the council, and Peter and John influenced Stephen. Are you influencing anyone? How are you affecting those you interact with? Are you encouraging Christians to grow? Are you drawing unbelievers closer to faith? How can you do this better?

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