Acts 4:1-22 (web)

Peter Preaches to the Sanhedrin

4:1 As they spoke to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came to them, 
4:2 being upset because they taught the people and proclaimed in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 
4:3 They laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was now evening. 
4:4 But many of those who heard the word believed, 
and the number of the men came to be about five thousand

4:5 It happened in the morning, that their rulers, elders, and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem. 
4:6 Annas the high priest was there, with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, 
and as many as were relatives of the high priest. 
4:7 When they had stood them in the middle of them, they inquired,
"By what power, or in what name, have you done this?" 

4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them,
"You rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 
4:9 if we are examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, 
by what means this man has been healed, 
4:10 be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, 
that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, 
whom God raised from the dead, in him does this man stand here before you whole. 
4:11 He is 'the stone which was regarded as worthless by you, the builders, 
which has become the head of the corner.' (Isaiah 28:16; 1Peter 2:6,7)
4:12 There is salvation in none other, 
for neither is there any other name under heaven,
that is given among men, by which we must be saved!

The Sanhedrin's Reaction

4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John,
and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled. 
They recognized that they had been with Jesus. 
4:14 Seeing the man who was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 
4:15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 
4:16 saying, "What shall we do to these men?
Because indeed a notable miracle has been done through them,
as can be plainly seen by all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we can't deny it. 
4:17 But so that this spreads no further among the people, let's threaten them,
that from now on they don't speak to anyone in this name." 
4:18 They called them, and charged them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 

4:19 But Peter and John answered them,
"Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourselves, 
4:20 for we can't help telling the things which we saw and heard." 

4:21 When they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, 
because of the people; for everyone glorified God for that which was done. 
4:22 For the man on whom this miracle of healing was performed was more than forty years old. 
 

Comments

It took 3 hours from the healing of the lame man to the arrest, according to Acts 3:1 and Acts 4:3. It was 6 hours that Jesus hung on the cross. And in just 3 hours 5,000 Jewish unbelievers put their faith in Christ. No doubt that the apostles and the other Christians had been preaching Christ even in the temple before this. But I assume that the religious leaders had not arrested them because they presumed they were not a threat, having already killed the leader of the movement. And even if these Christians claimed that their leader had risen from the dead, how could they prove it? But now this very public miracle was done affirming the propositions of the Apostles and thousands responded in belief. Now they perceived that Christianity was not dead, but a real threat.

The Sermon

Once again Peter affirms his propositions as to whom Jesus is based upon the historic undenial fact of miracles. Again and again we see that miracles are central to the gospel. Those who deny such miracles took place cannot then claim to be believers. If such miracles didn't take place then Christianity is a lie. Later Peter writes: "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." 1Pet 1:16 (niv) These are not made-up stories. These are historical facts. Denying Christ as he is described in the Bible is like trying to build a building without the chief cornerstone. The whole building collapses.

Can people be saved through other religions? Can they be saved by other versions of Christ - like the one advocated in Islam? NO! "Everyone who calls everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."Acts 2:21 (niv) And the true Lord Jesus Christ is described and defined in the Bible.  "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" Romans 10:14 (niv) And thus the Apostles were assigned to go and preach so that people may come to know Christ and be saved. And for this reason we have the Bible.

Confidence Communicates Conviction

When Christ was arrested and tried, Peter was in the temple courtyard denying Christ. But now the straying sheep has become a shephard. His former fears of persecution no longer dominate his behavior as he boldly proclaims Christ. This bold stand in view of the fact that Jesus had already died and in view of his former behavior affirms his claims. For how else or what other reason would explain that change in this man.

The Ordinary become Extraordinary

When ordinary Christians spend time with Jesus in prayer and Bible study they can become extraordinary. You'll even have other Christians asking you whether you've gone to Seminary. No, you just spent time with Jesus and the Bible. It is common among the religious elite, such as these Jewish leaders, to presume that speaking confidently about something can only come from taking courses and getting a degree. But confidence also comes from convictions which are developed through one's life and experiences. If you want to be a Christian of conviction, simply apply the Bible to your life.

Defying Religious "Authority"

Although all authority has been established by God (Romans 13:1), human authority only has a limited realm in which it can be reckoned legitimate authority. As God has ordained the gospel to be preached, these Jewish leaders were going outside of their legitimate realm of authority in commanding it not be preached. Thus the apostles were not really defying legitmate human authority here. So also throughout the history of the Church, it has often been necessary in following Christ to defy the religious authorities even of the institutional churches. Martin Luther was such an example, defying the Catholic authorities. But later even many Calvinist leaders of the of the Reformed Movement themselves were defied when they insisted that infant baptism be a part of the gospel.  And so it is even today that the greatest hinderance to the gospel being preached is often due to institutional leadership. The elitist atittude among many such people, obsessed with their own position of "authority",  has only hindered the maturing of the body of Christ. To them let us say, "Why don't you figure out for yourselves whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God. As for us,  we will not stop speaking of what we have heard in the Word of God." Don't let insitutional authorities get in your way of carrying out your own ministry.

Escaped (this time)

This time the religious authorities were hindered from having these men killed because of their present popularity. In the case of Jesus they had to manipulate the circumstances so as to make him unpopular for a time that they may kill him under the guise that it was the popular idea at the time. Beware of those who are driven by popularity. Beware of those who boast of the size their church and such, or how much people like them. Christianity is not a popularity contest. In John 6:15 when the crowd wanted to make him king, Jesus withdrew. Often popular Christianity has even been the enemy of Biblical Christianity. 

Too Old to be Effective?

As one last note, why does it mention that the man was 40 years old? Simply because since he had been lame all his life, by now there are a whole lot of people that would have known him. Don't underestimate you effectiveness for Christ if you came to faith when in middle or old age. 
  • Age is associated with the wisdom which comes from experience. Thus coming to faith in Christ when older would imply it was a decision born of a certain wisdom. 
  • What those older say and teach is generally taken more seriously. (Therefore also older Christians must be even more diligent in Bible study, for we will be held more accountable)
  • Older people generally have a history of more relationships than younger ones. And thus more potential opportunities for influence.



The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015