Here we are, already on day 4 of The Acts Challenge 2019! It’s been an exciting journey so far, with much left to learn and glean from this amazing book of the Bible.
In case you missed them, here are my previous posts from The Acts Challenge.
Here is Chapter 1
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Peter & John Imprisoned
(Vs. 1) And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
(Vs. 2) Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
(Vs. 3) And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.
The important thing to remember about the Sadducees was that there were certain things they did not believe in. One was the resurrection of the dead, or that spirits existed. They also didn’t believe in passing on oral traditions. They only accepted the written law, exactly as it was, and not one thing more.
These Sadducees were not the least bit happy that Peter and John were preaching about Jesus, His resurrection, and the power available with which they had healed the lame man.
Instead of simply letting them go, they put them in jail until they could decide what to do with them.
Peter & John’s Trial
(Vs. 4) Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
(Vs. 5) And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
(Vs. 6) And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
(Vs. 7) And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
I find it interesting that even after God added another 5,000 souls to the church, instead of considering this man Jesus, they took offense and hated it.
I also find it interesting that they asked, specifically By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? As if to set the scene, it gave Peter the perfect opportunity to answer that question the way it ought to have been answered.
Peter’s Holy Ghost Testimony
(Vs. 8) Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
(Vs. 9) If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
(Vs. 10) Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
Peter felt it necessary to not only give “the name” but also to testify to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. He also testified that it was BY HIM that this man stood before them WHOLE.
(Vs. 11) This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
(Vs. 12) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
No other name has the power to save. No other name has the power to heal. And certainly, no other name brings the boldness and power that comes with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. That name, praise God, is JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH.
Allow me to reiterate: there is NO other Name. Not Buddha, Allah, Krishna, nor any other name. None of these names bring salvation.
The Boldness of Peter & John
(Vs. 13) Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
Odds are, the men that surrounded both Peter and John that day knew exactly who they were. Even if they didn’t, something about them gave away the fact that they were “unlearned and ignorant.”
The word used here for “unlearned” is Strong’s G62, agrammatos, which literally meant illiterate. However, according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, it actually means that they were unlearned in Jewish schools.
The word for “ignorant” is a little more complex, coming from Strong’s G2399, idiotes. It means, in essence, a regular person, as opposed to royalty, or a regular soldier as opposed to an officer with rank. Basically, just someone who’s not specifically trained or “special” in some way or another.
But these men “took knowledge” of them! I tell you what though, I would MUCH RATHER be seen as someone who has been with Jesus instead of being seen as someone with worldly favor!
They Were Speechless
(Vs. 14) And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
(Vs. 15) But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
(Vs. 16) Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
These guys just really amaze me. I know that all things are just as Jesus set them in motion to be, right down to the last jot and tittle. However… here they were. They saw the man healed. The one they had seen laying at the Beautiful gate every single day. The one that was lame FROM BIRTH. They even said, they couldn’t deny it at all.
Furthermore, they agreed that a “notable” miracle had been done. Everyone, including them, in Jerusalem had seen it. There was no denying it.
And yet, they DID. They not only denied it, but they also hated them for doing it. For preaching in the Name of Jesus. For allowing God’s power to pour through them into those who still needed healing. That… blows my mind.
Shutting Them Up
(Vs. 17) But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.
(Vs. 18) And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
So, after talking it over and understanding that something had to be done, the best they could come up with under the circumstances was to demand that they never speak of Jesus, and never again to teach IN THE NAME OF JESUS.
It’s obvious that they understood the power IN THE NAME. You know, that one Name, the ONLY Name, that could save people? Yeah, that one. They could have said not to teach His doctrine or any one of countless other things. But no, I think they knew, even if only deep down, that it was THE NAME that brought the power.
Having Seen & Heard…
(Vs. 19) But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
(Vs. 20) For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
When you are an eye witness to things, you KNOW that you KNOW that you know it. These men had walked with Jesus, talked with Him, learned from Him, eaten with Him, cried with Him, and just generally spent their lives following Him.
Then they saw Him betrayed by one of their own.
They saw Him arrested, tried, convicted, and hung on a cross as if He were a common thief. And then they watched Him die.
But that good news, praise God, is that the story doesn’t END there! They also saw Him resurrected. Saw the scars in His hands and His feet and His side! They knew that this was truly the Son of God, God in flesh, raised from the dead, just as He said He would be!
When you experience something like that, well, you just HAVE to tell about it. And Peter was assuring them that’s exactly what they would continue to do.
Peter & John Freed
(Vs. 21) So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
“All men,” that is, except for these chief priest and Sadduccees!
(Vs. 22) For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.
(Vs. 23) And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
Praying for Boldness
(Vs. 24) And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
(Vs. 25) Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
(Vs. 26) The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against Christ.
(Vs. 27) For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
(Vs. 28) For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
(Vs. 29) And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
(Vs. 30) By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
Instead of praying that they would be hidden or protected, instead of praying that these men would stop persecuting them, they prayed a whole different prayer. They prayed, rather, for the BOLDNESS to speak the Word of God! They prayed that God would use them to heal and that signs and wonders would be done, IN THE NAME OF JESUS!
Now THAT… that’s the kind of boldness we need!
The Holy Ghost Shakes the Place
(Vs. 31) And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
(Vs. 32) And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common.
(Vs. 33) And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
They had asked for boldness, so the Holy Ghost fell, against, and they did indeed, speak the Word of God with boldness. Not only that, but they gave their witness, or TESTIMONY, of the resurrection of Jesus.
No One Lacks
(Vs. 34) Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
(Vs. 35) And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
(Vs. 36) And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
(Vs. 37) Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
In today’s world, actions like these would be classified as a “cult” but in those days…
It was called, THE CHURCH.
Please feel free to share your thoughts below! And thank you for reading!
Ever in His Service,