While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the leading priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees came over to them. They were very disturbed that Peter and John were claiming, on the authority of Jesus, that there is a resurrection of the dead. They arrested them and, since it was already evening, jailed them until morning. But many of the people who heard their message believed it, so that the number of believers totalled about five thousand men, not counting women and children.
The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest. They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Leaders and elders of our nation, are we being questioned because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed in the name and power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, the man you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
`The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’
There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them.”
The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had had no special training. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. But since the man who had been healed was standing right there among them, the council had nothing to say. So they sent Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves.
“What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny they have done a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. But perhaps we can stop them from spreading their propaganda. We’ll warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” So they called the apostles back in and told them never again to speak or teach about Jesus.
But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard.”
The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God for this miraculous sign-the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.
Some interesting points to note here.
- Despite the enemy’s efforts to prevent the Good News about Jesus, people heard and believed and the number of believers increased to five thousand, not counting women and children.
- The disciples were arrested and thrown into jail because the religious leaders didn’t like their message. How many of us are persecuted because people don’t like what we are saying?
- The same men who Jesus faced before His crucifixion and the same the disciples had to face—Annas and Caiaphas.
- Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit—so the words he spoke were not his. Jesus had predicted this: “But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you”
- He made it clear that the man was healed in the name and power of Jesus Christ, the same Man they crucified and whom God resurrected. They didn’t take credit for the healing. They were giving all the glory to Jesus Christ.
- Salvation is in Christ and Christ alone. They cannot gain it through their works, the Law or their self-righteousness.
- The people were amazed at how boldly Peter and John stood up for their faith. They were ordinary men with no special training who had been seen with Jesus. Yet, they spoke with such authority. This brings to mind how surprised the people had been when Jesus had spoken to the crowd in the synagogue, His knowledge and authority of the scriptures. The amazement of the people at Peter and the others also brings to mind what the apostle Paul wrote, “Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful”
- God uses the unlearned to confound the learned. Jesus chose ordinary, unruly, uneducated men to be His disciples.
- The disciples stood their ground, refusing to keep quiet about what they had seen and heard. We ought to do the same, refusing to keep quiet when we can testify of God’s greatness and the love of Christ.
- When we do the work of God, it brings glory to Him. As a result of healing the man who had been lame for forty years, the people were praising God.
Acts 4:1-22; Matthew 10:17-20; 1 Corinthians 1:26, 27