Chapter 4, Acts 4:1- 37, persecutions, earth-shattering prayer
Heavenly Father, we pray for Your presence to be with us as we open up the book of Acts. Thank You for making us right with You, through the atoning sacrifice of Your Son. Nourish our souls, water our hearts, and deepen our roots to produce fruits. Reveal the truth to us. We pray for ears to hear, eyes to see, and minds to understand scripture, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-4, 1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. 4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
The Sadducees who did not believed in resurrection arrested the apostles and put them in jail. Meanwhile, another 5000 Jews believed in Jesus and were added to the church.
VV 5-7, 5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, 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.7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
The next day, the high priest and the religious rulers questioned the apostles’ authority and by whose’ power they healed the lame man.V 8-10, 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 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, filled with the Holy Spirit, testified that Jesus of Nazareth was the One who healed the lamed man. Peter accused the religious leaders of killing Jesus of Nazareth, but God raised Him from the dead on the third day.
VV 11-12, 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Peter quoted Psalm 118:22. Jesus is the chief cornerstone, and savior of the world.
Psalm 118: 22, ‘’The stone which the builders rejected, hath become the chief cornerstone’’.
V 13, 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.
The Jewish leaders were astonished at the capability of uneducated men like Peter and John.
VV 14-18, 14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 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. 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. 18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
The Jewish leaders did not know what to do because they could not deny that a miracle had taken place.They threatened the apostles not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.
VV 19-22, 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. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. 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.22 For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.
Peter and John protested boldly that they would not keep quiet because they had to obey God. The Jewish leaders reluctantly released them because they had no case against them. The apostles glorified God for the miracle because the lame man was 40 years old when he was healed.
VV 23-31, 23 And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. 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:25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 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, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determine before to be done. 29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 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
The apostles returned to the house church and prayed. They quoted Psalm 2:1-3. They acknowledged God as creator of heavens and the earth. They prayed for boldness to speak, power to do miracles, signs, and wonders through the name of Jesus. The prayer was so powerful that the building was shaken, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 2:1-3, Why do the heathens rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, let us break their bands asunder, in pieces, and cast away their cords from us
VV 32-37, 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 common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 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, 35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 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, 37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
The disciples sold all that they possessed and gave all the proceeds to the apostles. The apostles distributed resources to whoever was in need. God’s grace was upon them. The apostles boldly testified to the resurrection of Christ. Barnabas came into the scene. He sold land an gave the proceeds to the apostles. Barnabas means son of encouragement. He was very encouraging to everyone.
Your testimony is powerful. Share it.Prayer is powerful. Pray persistently, consistently and regularly
Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Believe in Him.
Heavenly Father, today, we can see the boldness of the apostles. Even though they were uneducated, they spoke so well, preached so well, and prayed so well, because they were with Jesus, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Help us to walk with You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.