The First Persecution (Acts 4 : 1 – 12)
Peter’s teaching attracted the attention of everyone. The list of people are……
* Sadducees who never believed in resurrection after death.
* The captain of the temple who accompanied the Sadducees and maintained law and order.
* And the priests.
Peter and John were held by the above mentioned people overnight in order to convene the Sanhedrin comprised of seventy-member council.
* They sat in a semicircle as they served as both the supreme Court and senate of the nation, Israel.
* Peter’s response was a courageous one which Jesus had previously promised to His followers. (Luke 21 : 12 – 15).
There are three parts in his defence.
* Peter characterises the healing of the crippled man as an act of kindness, brought about by the name of Jesus.
* Peter draws attention to the fact that the same Sanhedrin had been responsible for the death of Jesus. But God raised Him up from the death. So their action of putting Jesus to death is the fulfilment of the prophecy in Psalms 118 : 22.
JESUS WAS THE REJECTED STONE THAT BECAME A CROWING PIECE OF GOD’S WORK.
* Peter changes the subject from healing to salvation. The physical restoration of the crippled man is a picture of salvation available to all people through Jesus.
Preaching in the Name of Jesus Forbidden (Acts 4 : 13 – 31)
The Sanhedrin was astonished at the courage of Peter and John.
* Jesus was an insightful opponent of the religious leaders.
* Peter and John were ordinary men – but just because they were with Jesus they were knowledgeable.
Because the healed man stood before the Sanhedrin …..
* They couldn’t deny the miracle.
* Neither they could acknowledge it.
* Even such a convincing display couldn’t be penetrative in their hearts
* Sadducees were protective of their views and interests.
With all the people praising God for the miraculous healing of the crippled man…
* The council could find no way of punishing Peter and John.
* It threatened the council more and more and left them unpunished.
* The believers had lifted up their voice in one accord, praising God.
* God acknowledges the believers’ prayers, responding by shaking their meeting place and filling them all with the Holy Spirit.
* As a result, believers’ faith is intensified.
State of the Church at Jerusalem (Acts 4 : 32 – 37)
Filling of the Holy Spirit made the ………
* believers’ boldness intensified.
* believers’ unity strengthened.
* believers to pray in one accord.
* believers to love selflessly.
* believers not to claim possessions.
* believers to have the willingness to share.
* believers to be generous to distribute.
Verse : 36 & 37 explain all the above mentioned phenomena of the believers.
Joseph was a Levite from the country of Cyprus. He was surnamed by the apostles as Barnabas. His name was interpreted as son of encouagement. Verse 37. ” Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Lord, let our physical restoration become the spiritual restoration of salvation through Jesus Christ. Lord let our faith be intensified by Your response to our prayers and You fill us with Your Holy Spirit.
Lord, let’s be filled with Your Holy Spirit and abide with all the good characteristics mentioned above. Amen
Glory be to God