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Acts: Chapter 4

Categories: ActsTags: 4.4 min read
We talked about the link between chapter 3 and chapter 4 which was the act of healing the crippled man. The events in chapter 4 were as a direct result of the miracle in chapter 3.Acts 4:1-4 The temple guard had the important role of ensuring that the temple area was kept free from troublemakers. The captain of the temple guard came because a large crowd had gathered. The crowd had gathered to listen to Peter and John and also because many of them had heard of the healing of the crippled man. The Sadducees came because they wanted to stop Peter and John from speaking to the crowd and influencing the ordinary people. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection and were angry that Peter and John were preaching that, through the resurrection of Jesus, all things were possible including miracles. The Sadducees were chief priests and had a position of authority in the Jewish Sanhedrin (the Supreme Council of the Jewish nation).They wanted to keep their power and needed to stay friendly with the Romans. When the Sadducees realised that large numbers of people (over 5000) believed the message that Peter and John were preaching they put Peter and John in prison. The apostles were put in prison overnight because it was unlawful to examine evidence after a certain time in the evening.

Acts 4:5-12 The next day Peter and John were brought before the Jewish leaders. The high priest and 70 other men formed the Sanhedrin. These Jewish leaders were allowed to make decisions and judgements if they thought that a crime had been committed. They wanted to know how the crippled man had been healed. Peter reminded the Jewish leaders that they had sent Jesus to the Romans for crucifixion but he had been raised from the dead by God’s power and authority and it was through his saving name that the crippled man had been healed. Peter quotes from Psalm 118:22 and refers to the Jewish leaders as the builders who rejected Jesus, like an unimportant stone, but he was the most important stone of the building. He was the cornerstone and it was only through the name of Jesus that mankind could find salvation.

Acts 4:13-22 Before Peter and John met Jesus, they were fishermen and may not have learned to read and write. They would have gone to the synagogue on the Sabbath day to listen to the rabbis teaching about the Jewish religion and Law of Moses. The Jewish leaders thought that they were cleverer than Peter and John and were very surprised when the apostles were able to explain the scriptures. The leaders noted that the apostles had gained their knowledge and understanding of the power of God through being with Jesus and listening to his teaching. The crippled man was standing in the court and was visual evidence of the power that Peter and John were speaking about.

The men in the Sanhedrin discussed what to do with Peter and John. It was a difficult problem for them because they couldn’t deny that a miracle had happened, and that the apostles had done nothing wrong, so they couldn’t keep them in prison. However, the leaders did not want the apostles to tell everyone that Jesus was alive and they didn’t want the people to listen to the message of the power of Jesus. They were afraid that they would lose their own power and authority over the ordinary people so they decided to warn Peter and John that they must not speak about Jesus. But Peter and John explained that it was more important to follow God’s commands than the commands of men.

Acts 4:23-31 Peter and John went back to the other believers and told them what had happened. Then they prayed together acknowledging God as the creator and true ruler of the earth. The believers were Jews and called David their ‘father’ because he was a respected king in Israel who was a true and faithful servant of God. As the believers prayed they said words from a psalm of David, Psalm 2:1-2. Part of the psalm is a prophecy about Jesus being the Messiah.

There was a joy and enthusiasm for the teachings of Jesus and an expectation of his return to the earth in the near future. The early believers were certain that God’s purpose was worked out through faithful people and that God knows how each person will react to given situations.

Acts 4:29 The Holy Spirit was given to the early believers in order to allow them to speak boldly of their understanding of the scriptures and of God’s purpose through his son Jesus. They were encouraged and revitalised by the power given to them through the Holy Spirit and were able to preach confidently and perform miracles.

Acts 4:32-36 The early believers cared about each other and shared everything that they owned. They worked together, through the grace of God, in order to spread the teachings of Jesus and there were ‘no needy persons among them.’

Barnabas sold a field and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet. This act showed that he was offering the money as a gift to God.

ADDITIONAL READING

FURTHER THOUGHTS

Mark 6

Categories: Mark|Tags: |

Read Online: AV NIV In the beginning of Chapter Six we see Jesus returning to the area where he had

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