Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”
So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
- Arrested for Proclaiming the Truth
- Arrested “as they were speaking.”
- Arrested by the religionist leaders.
The religious establishment was threatened by what the disciples were preaching. If Jesus had arose from the dead, then He must have been what He claimed to be – the Son of God. If that were true, they had murdered the Son of God. If Jesus was really the Messiah, their very existence as priests and leaders in the Temple would be done away with.
We should not be surprised if we are condemned, talked about, persecuted when we witness for Christ. We should not be surprised if the very ones who cause us the most trouble are those who seem to be so righteous.
- Their preaching bore results in spite of the persecution.
Man may hinder our witnessing, may make it more difficult, but he cannot stop the truth of God’s Word
NOTE: The Sanhedrin was the ruling body of the Jews. It had 72 members and was presided over by the High Priest. The priests were made up of the male descendants of Aaron (Exodus 28:1, Numbers 3:1-3, Numbers 18:1-7). By the time of Jesus there were over 20,000 priests. Since there was only one temple, the priests were divided into groups. Each group served in the temple for one week twice a year (1 Chronicles 24:1-6). The High Priest was supposed to be a spiritual office appointed by the Jewish leaders, but by the time of Jesus, it had evolved into a political office and the Roman government appointed the high priest. Caiaphas was the high priest appointed by the Romans. However, Annas, who had been removed by the Romans, was apparently still the power behind the throne, and had tremendous influence among the Jewish leaders.
- Christ is Credited with the Power
- Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Matthew 10:18-20 – And 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 speaks, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
Mark 13:11 – But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
Luke 21:12-15 – But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
- Peter and John took no personal credit
- It was the name of Jesus Christ. To the Jewish mind, a person’s name was the same thing as the person themselves.
- To sign your name to a document was to pledge yourself. The name of Jesus simply stands for the power, the might, the very being of Jesus Himself. There is no magic in the words Jesus Christ. The power is in the person behind the name.
- Jesus had been crucified. He had died.
- Jesus had arose again. He was alive.
NOTE: Remember, we are reading this in the English translation of the Greek. However, Peter would have been speaking in Aramaic. What He would have said was Jesus the Messiah. Christ is the Greek word for Messiah. Peter was bolding telling the Jewish leaders that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, the promised Savior of their nation.
- Jesus Christ is the Source of Salvation.
- He is the Chief Cornerstone. The main foundation.
Psalm 118:22 – The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone…
Matthew 21:42 – Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’”
Ephesians 2:20 – having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.
1 Peter 2:6 – Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.
- Jesus Christ alone saves. There is no other name to call on.
John 3:16-17 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’
1 Corinthians 2:2 – For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 3:11 – For no other foundation can man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
NOTE: The words used here – salvation and whole – are the same Greek word – sesotai. It means to be saved, to be made whole, to be safe and sound, to be healed. It means that a person is made whole and continues to be whole. It means that the man was made whole in both body and soul. Salvation in the Biblical sense includes all of man – spirit, body, soul (mind, emotions and will).
- Fellowship with Jesus Christ Changes Men
Here is a challenge to us. Do we spend enough time with Jesus that the world notices our boldness, our power, our knowledge (knowledge that does not come by natural means)? Jesus longs for our fellowship with Him.
Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.
John 14:23 – If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
John 17:20-24 – I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word (that’s you and me); that they all may be one, as You, Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us….I in them, and You in Me;….that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am….
Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
- Refusal to Compromise the Message
- Regardless of threats
- God must be obeyed
- We cannot help but share what God has done for us
Matthew 5:11 – Blessed (happy) are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
2 Timothy 3:12 -“And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
1 Peter 3:15 – …be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason for the hope that is in you….
1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Matthew 5:16; John 15:8; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Colossians 1:12; Psalm 9:11; Psalm 35:28
The prophet, Jeremiah suffered persecution for proclaiming the message of God to Israel. Finally, he said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” He concluded that “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire (fire shut up in my bones); I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.”
How could someone find a cure for Aids or cancer and not tell it to the world? How could someone find a solution to the violence in our schools and not tell it to the world? How could someone find an answer for all our abused children and not tell it to the world?
Well, we have the answer! It is Jesus Christ, crucified and risen again.
SHOUT IT OUT!!!! LET THE WORLD KNOW THAT JESUS SAVES (heals, makes whole, makes safe, complete, sound.)
NOTE: After the disciples were released in today’s story, they reported back to the church all the threats that had been given to them. Notice the church’s response. They did not, as we would probably do, cry out for protection. They did not question why God had permitted these threats? They did not ask for God to rain down judgment on their accusers? They did not ask God to please stop the threats or the persecution.
Rather, they asked for more boldness for themselves that they would continue to speak the Word and not be intimidated by the threats. They asked for signs and wonders to be done through the name of Jesus.
Perhaps we need to change our prayers.