The following comments are designed to help you better understand the passage and stimulate your thinking on the implications of the scripture.
The following comments are designed to help you better understand the passage and stimulate your thinking on the implications of the scripture passage.
Chapter 4 begins with the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees being greatly annoyed at Peter and John. Dr. Tom Constable points out a few reasons why they were so frustrated:
Two things disturbed these leaders. First, the apostles were teaching the people. This was the Sadducees' function, since they were the recognized leaders of the Jews. Second, the apostles were teaching that Jesus had risen from the dead and that there was a resurrection from the dead. (Constable, Notes on Acts, 81)
The Sadducee group in Israel were ultra Jewish people who were proud to be the teachers of the Old Testament. They were convinced by the reading of the Old Testament that there was no such thing as a resurrection. The Sadducees had no room in their lives to learn from someone else and also no room in their lives for a resurrection. The evidence for Jesus’ resurrection didn’t matter. Their hearts and minds were already made up. The one thing they couldn’t deny, however, is that something incredible has been happening in their city. Their first question to Peter and John is not connected to what they’re saying. They see the numbers of people flocking to Jesus. They see the continual stream of miracles. Their first question is to ask them where all this power is coming from? It is clear from chapters 1-4 of Acts that the Holy Spirit is empowering Peter and John and the entire church.
Peter wraps up his message by saying salvation is found in no one else, there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Peter starts with a negative very non-politically correct statement; salvation is found in no one else besides Jesus. He then positively identifies the greatness of Jesus being given to people to be saved. The boldness of Peter in John is staggering.
As Peter and John spoke with complete openness and eloquent confidence, the members of the Sanhedrin realize that these two men are not priests trained to use the law in the context of their ritual duties in the temple, or wealthy aristocrats who have enjoyed the privileges of education… The Jewish elite here regard them as “amateurs”, as people who have no standing as priestly, political, or scribal experts. (Schnabel, Acts, 243)
They’re amateurs indeed, but they’re amateurs backed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Upon being released they go straight to a prayer meeting. Peter and John have just been incredibly bold, oddly enough however, they pray for more boldness. They need the Holy Spirit’s power every time they walk out their door. They never want to be the professional religious elite without any power. They always want to be amateurs backed by the power of God. As they pray the place is shaken; God is happy to grant these prayers.
Record any insights from this deeper study...