Event(s): Peter and John Arrested and come before the Sanhedrin
Today’s Text: Acts 4:1-22
Tomorrow’s Text: Acts 4:23-37
Picture the scene, if you will. The Sanhedrin, whom Peter and John were brought before, was like the religious senate and supreme court of Israel. It consisted of the high priest, and 70 other men. All dressed in their fine robes, very well to do, all highly educated in religion. Then there’s Peter and John. Basically, two fishermen. Not formally educated in the rabbinical schools. Not “experienced” according to the standards of the religious leaders. But what set them apart was the boldness with which they spoke. It was clear these men “had been with Jesus” (vs13).
This excerpt from a commentary can help explain why they were pulled in for questioning in the first place, and why this encounter was so intense:
“The Mosaic Law specified that whenever someone performed a miracle and used it as the basis for teaching, he was to be examined, and if the teaching were used to lead men away from the God of their fathers, the nation was responsible to stone him (Deut. 13:1-5). On the other hand, if his message was doctrinally sound, the miracle-worker was to be accepted as coming with a message from God.” R. Kent Hughes, Author
Acts 4:7 “by what power or by what name” Yesterday, we talked about walking in the authority of Jesus’ name. This is in essence what the leaders were asking Peter and John. Under who’s jurisdiction do you fall? Who gave you permission to do what you are doing? They were under fire, but they didn’t back down. Neither did they try to be something they weren’t. Peter and John never spoke disrespectfully, but they boldly declared the truth of who Jesus was. The fire of God’s presence had come over them in the upper room. And so when they came under fire, they stood firm.
Acts 4:10 “this man stands here before you whole” It is truly a gift that the author of the Book of Acts, Luke, was also a physician by profession. There are several different words used throughout the book of Acts to describe the various types of healings and miracles that took place. In studying those words a little deeper, we gain a better understanding of what exactly happened in the spirit, soul or body of the person who was healed.
For example, in this verse, the word “whole” comes from the Greek word, hygiēs [hü-gē-ās] and means complete, whole, or having no deviation from the originally created design or state. This man had been lame from birth, never having use of his feet for over 40 years. Yet when he got up, the Bible said he didn’t just walk, he went into the temple leaping and praising God (3:8).
The NKJV Study Bible gives a great description of what exactly took place physically: “Instantly, strength was given to the portions of the body that needed it. Blood supply was increased to the muscle. The brain sent signals to the nerve endings of the ankles and feet. The hardened fluid between the joints softened, and the atrophied muscles and ligaments regained flexibility. The feed suddenly could bear the man’s weight.”
His feet were literally regenerated to the originally created intent. So often, we just want relief from our painful circumstances, don’t we? We settle, and ask for something that will just meet a temporary need to get us by. (Remember, this man was found begging at the temple gate). Thank God, that in His grace and mercy, He always has wholeness in mind.
Acts 4:11 “the stone which was rejected” In Biblical times, the process of choosing a foundational stone for a new building to rest upon was entrusted only to the most highly trained of stonemasons. There was no concrete back then. And because the integrity of the whole structure depended upon choosing only the best foundation, they went through a lengthy process of inspecting several different stones, rejecting the ones in which they saw any type of flaw.
What Peter is basically saying here, is that the religious leaders (who had been entrusted with building the next new thing God was building in the earth) had rejected the foundational “stone” Jesus, who God had sent. Their religious attitude caused them to see Him as flawed, though He was perfect in every way.
Acts 4:12 “there is no other name” Continuing with his thought about the stone, Peter emphasizes the fact that Jesus wasn’t just “a” good stone. He was “the” only One who could possibly qualify. This speaks to exclusivity. There is no other name above the name of Jesus. There is no other way to the Father. There is no other source of salvation. There is no other way to see or access the Kingdom of Heaven. It is only by placing faith in Jesus, that can we be saved.
“God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” In the eyes of the religious leaders, Peter and John were not qualified or experienced. But what set them apart was the evidence that they had “been with Jesus”. When the time came to speak up, they relied not on their own ability, but on the power of the Holy Spirit within them to give them the words to say. Today, prayerfully consider if there’s any thoughts, insecurities, or fears that may cause you to shrink back when an opportunity to talk about Jesus presents itself. Challenge those thoughts with faith, and better yet, begin exercising your voice by speaking up. Stop playing it safe. You’ll be surprised at what God gives you to say.