Saint Peter and John Healing the Beggar, by Nicolas Poussin

Acts Devotional Commentary [Acts 4:1-4] Peter and John Before the Council

Peter and John Before the Council

And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.

Observations and Reflections

Justin-Holmes1.jpgThe Pharisees and other religious leaders have a major issue. They thought that getting rid of Jesus would be easy. However, they had no idea what they were doing. Seeing Jesus’ disciples back in the Temple, proclaiming the name of Jesus, must have been the most frustrating experience. They already killed Jesus, what more could be done to rid themselves of his legacy and disciples?

The answer is nothing, because you cannot kill Jesus.

So, what is to be done with these followers of Jesus who keep coming to the Temple to proclaim Jesus’ Lordship? They must now be dealt with in the same manner as Jesus. At the Temple they were accosted and arrested by 3 groups of people: the priests, the Sadducee, and the Temple guard. The Temple guards were usually Roman and would put down any mob or riot with great force. Remember that the Temple was built bu Herod. He had an interest in making sure it was well kept.

“And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening”

Luke states that Peter and John were arrested and taken into custody because it was already evening. One must now wonder; how long were they preaching in the outer court of the Temple? They healed the beggar about 3:00 PM according to Acts 3:1. Peter must have been preaching for at least 3 hours at this point. I am sure his ability to captivate the crowd for 3 hours really infuriated the Temple leaders. Especially since there were some 5,000 of them repented and responded to Peter’s message. It should come as no surprise that the leaders had them taken away.

Lydia.jpgThe opposition to the Gospel is something that Christians will always face in this world. Peter and John had just started their ministry and already, the same religious rulers who had put Jesus to death, became hostile towards even the mention of His name.

It is interesting to see how the text includes that they were “greatly annoyed”. The mere idea of Jesus Christ and the Gospel being preached once again became a huge threat to them and their authority. They had thought that by putting Jesus to death, they also put and end to the message of the Gospel as well. Despite their efforts, the followers of Jesus Christ grew in boldness and number.

The message that Peter had preached had been heard and was reaching deep into their hearts. Many were saved and began to join in on the growing number of followers of Jesus Christ. This is just the beginning of the type of opposition that we will see take place as the message of the Gospel begins to spread. This is something that Jesus had warned would happen and it was something that no longer filled the hearts of the disciples with fear.

Jesus had equipped them with the power of the Holy Spirit to face these hard times and He promised that He would give them the courage and the words to say when faced with opposition, threats and persecution.

[Featured image: Saint Peter and John Healing the Beggar, by Nicolas Poussin]

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