Acts 4: 1-22

Written by kathleen on Jan 18, 2015 in - No Comments

Acts 4:1-22

Standing Strong

1 Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening..  started at three in the afternoon

The captain of the temple refers to the “police force” of the temple precincts: The captain, together with the priests and the Sadducees, all came together to arrest Peter and John and they put them into custody until the next day because it was illegal under Jewish law to have a trial by night, though that’s what the Jewish rulers did to Jesus.

In the Gospels, the Pharisees are the primary opponents of Jesus and are radical fundamentalists that claimed Jesus and His disciples violated their rituals and traditions.

Here in Acts, however, the Sadducees are the primary opponents. Materialists through and through, they were upset because of the stories of miracles and resurrection, angels and healings that were going on throughout Jerusalem.

Therefore the Sadducees who did not believe in the afterlife or resurrection at all;  are greatly disturbed that Peter and John preached that in Jesus because of the resurrection this healing was made complete  .

4 However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, 6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

In their thinking, the power resided in the name, because the name represented the character of the person.

Old Testament Scriptures (Deuteronomy 13) stated he who did a miracle in the name of any other besides Jehovah was to be stoned. So Caiaphas, Annas, and the guys; perhaps with rocks in hand were hoping Peter would say, “We did it in the Name of Jesus.”

These Jewish rulers are the same ones who recently condemned Jesus to death. Peter and John, standing before them must have thought that the trial of Jesus was going to happen all over again and they would be crucified like Jesus, but it didn’t seem to matter

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel.

9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

Peter is instantly filled with the Spirit again, shown by his supernatural boldness and ability to speak directly to the heart of the matter.

Only two months previously, Peter stood by a fire and denied Jesus Christ (Luke 22:55–57) but now the tone of Peter’s reply – especially when he says “If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man” and “whom you crucified” shows that he is not intimidated by this court, though humanly speaking, he should be for this is the same court that sent Jesus to be crucified.

He goes on–11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

In verse 11 Peter starts Quoting Psalm 118:22 referencing the construction of the temple. What is interesting about this quote is; tradition has it that in the days of the construction of Solomon’s temple: the engineers at the temple mount searched but they couldn’t find the cornerstone. So a message was sent to the quarry “Where is the cornerstone?” Word came back to the mount; “We sent it to you months ago” Then someone remembered: “Oh, maybe it was that stone we didn’t know what to do with. It didn’t fit anywhere, so we rolled it down the hill into the Valley of Gehenna

Apparently, the Valley of Grhenna or Hinnom which was a deep narrow ravine south of Jerusalem and was used as the garbage dump for the city of Jerusalem. Refuse, waste materials, and dead animals were burned there. Fires continually smoldered, and smoke from the burning debris rose day and night thus it became a graphic symbol of woe and judgment and of the place of eternal punishment called HELL.

Parents also sacrificed their children as a burnt offering to the pagan god Molech in that place. (2 kings – Chroniicles)

Ahaz and Manasseh, kings of Judah, were both guilty of this awful wickedness By verse 12 Peter doesn’t merely proclaim Jesus as a way of salvation, but as the only way of salvation.

Among those who listened in that day there was no one who did not want some sort of hope of salvation; and as it is today in our society the idea that there is no salvation in any other, and that there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved was offensive; but it is the plain and literal teaching of the Bible.

This statement raises so many questions like What about the infant who dies? What about the person who has never heard about Jesus?

All that needs to be said is God will deal with them fairly and justly, and those who are saved will be saved by the work of Jesus done on their behalf, even if they lacked a full knowledge of Jesus.

Does this mean that everyone must make a personal decision for Jesus Christ? YES! (He is who he said he is or he’s not)

If you wish to believe that all are saved or that there are many roads to heaven or that you can take the best of all faiths and blend them into one, go ahead believe so!; and bear the consequences; but do not claim or think that is the teaching of the Bible.

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

Peter and John were Galilean fishermen with no formal education, but they had the one essential qualification for ministry – they had been with Jesus.

It was as if the Sanhedrin said, “These guys are just like Jesus! “They didn’t study with our scholars they didn’t go to seminary. How is it they understand the Scriptures?  We thought we solved the Jesus problem when we crucified Him, but now it is worse than ever!”

14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

The lame man not only stood with Peter and John in the temple but he stood with them in their trouble. Peter and John were in hot water here and this guy could have said, “Hey, this is a little heavy. Thanks for healing me, but I gotta go.” But he didn’t. He stood by Peter and John, even though he could have been executed with them.

It’s easy to be friends in and around the church. But so many times you can only find out who your true friends are when you’re in trouble.

Just as you will be able to evaluate the depth of your friendship with Jesus by how willing you are to stand with Him in times of testing and difficulty.

We should ask ourselves Am I wiling to stand with the Lord; and stand by my brothers and sisters even when they’re blowing it, even when they’re in hot water, even when they’re in difficulty, even when they’re in trouble.  We must remember; He stood for me and stood by me!

15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”

Their fear of the preaching of Jesus was rooted in their own sinful self-interest, not in any desire to protect the people. So how did Luke ever find out what the Sanhedrin discussed among them selves? Because a member of that Sanhedrin later became a Christian; Saul of Tarsus known as the Apostle Paul.

18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. 22 For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

You may not be able to grab the hand of a lame man and say to him, “In the Name of Jesus, stand up and walk,” but there are other things you can do.

Jesus said we can give a cup of cold water in His Name. Every one of us can go to someone who is thirsty, someone who needs a simple act of kindness shown to them, and say, “I’m doing this in the Name of Jesus because He’s blessed me.”

When you volunteer for the nursery and change a diaper or two, you can do it in the Name of Jesus.

He said we can receive a little child in His Name We can and are to baptize in His Name

We can proclaim the remission of sins in His Name

We can be a carrier of the Good News to the person   who is hurting and feeling down & out!

We can say, “In the Name of Jesus, I want to tell you that your sin is forgiven and forgotten.”

Peter and John said, “We can’t help but speak that which we’ve seen and heard.”

Maybe  you have a hard time speaking about the Lord! I find that my witness is proportional to what I am presently seeing and hearing from the Lord in my own life.

If I am not seeing or hearing from Him, I find I don’t speak as boldly or quickly as during those times when I am hearing His Word and focused on Him.

The people who heard the words spoken of Jesus & saw a lame man leap for joy; glorified God. This is how it should always be: people glorifying God

Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they might see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

This man had been lame for forty years, but his healing came at the exact moment that would maximize glory to God and confirm the fact that although Jesus was no longer seen physically, He was now working through His church.

The word for you today is Stand Strong! Don’t give up; continue putting Jesus first in all that you do and at the right time, the Lord will work to His glory.

You watch. You wait & You’ll see!