4 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.
5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
BY WHAT POWER?
There is a principle that we see developing in the Book of Acts, that I do not doubt you have experienced in life too. When God starts to move, it doesn’t take long for opposition to mount. So far, we have seen in excess of 5,000 people come to faith in Jesus. We have heard of a crippled man begging for silver and gold to survive and Peter through the power of the Holy Spirit and the powerful name of Jesus brings healing into this man’s life.
The response to all this is opposition. Peter and John are arrested, brought in for questioning. “By what power or what name did you do this?”, they are asked. We have seen already in the book of Acts, that all are called to an essential encounter with the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised the disciples that after the Holy Spirit came upon them, they would receive power, and that’s what we are now witnessing.
The Holy Spirit is the driving force behind all meaningful ministry in Jesus' name. This reality makes me ask, where do we look for spiritual power today? Education? Work? Religious practices? Ourselves? Clearly, the book of Acts calls us to a Spirit-filled life, and we need to ask God to fill us with the Spirit as we face constant challenge and change. Reading this account in Acts 4 I am feeling very challenged about how I personally often try to do life and ministry apart from the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Does that happen to you?
All Peter and John did was to allow the Spirit to work through them and they brought glory to God. This whole situation, described here in Chapter 4 starts out rather grim for Peter and John. They were on trial before the same court that sent Jesus to Pilate to be condemned to death.
This whole section is answering the question, “What does the Gospel do?” Well, the Gospel brings healing, renewal, restoration but also brings opposition. What we see here is that this opposition against Peter and John and the Gospel, looks like a horrifying threat. Yet we see what God does in the face of opposition, the Gospel advances and more people come to believe in Jesus, Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit yet again, and he gets to preach Jesus to the leaders of the Jews. Look at the outcome God receives all the glory, and Peter and John are bolder in their witness for Jesus.
Here is an important truth from this account today, that when God is at his saving work, in our lives and in the life of his community of followers, and in the world he created, there will be a push back, opposition against what God is doing, yet we should never be discouraged or fearful in the midst of such opposition, because God is able to bring about his purposes and nothing, and I mean nothing can prevent God’s good purposes from being fulfilled. Amen? AMEN!!