Interrogating the Apostles – Acts 5

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded...

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded by angels, by Giaquinto, 1750s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The officers brought the apostles from the temple to appear before the Sanhedrin, and the high priest questioned them. He reminded them that Peter and John had been warned not to teach in Jesus’ name. Now, he said, they had “filled Jerusalem” with that teaching. He also said that the apostles intended “to bring this man’s blood upon us.” Jesus’ blood, from the point of view of which he spoke, was already “upon them,” of course, and he knew it very well. What he really meant was that these twelve men could very well get the people stirred up against them so much that members of this council might even be physically harmed for Jesus’ death.

Peter and the other apostles with him did not mince any words, and they did not reply sheepishly in any way. What they told him was that they must obey God rather than men. In no uncertain terms, they were telling this council that what they were doing was being done by God’s command, and they would not stop doing it. What a bold and courageous thing to say before the very men that had sent Jesus to His death!

Then they let them know not only who Jesus was, but that His blood was indeed upon their hands:

The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior,
to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit,
whom God has given to those who obey him.

They looked their accusers right in the eyes — men who could send them to their deaths for these word, and spoke as if God Himself was looking after them. And in fact, that was exactly what He was doing!

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Please check out my Books and my Facebook Author’s Page. You will find the links at this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books“.

The Arrest of the Twelve – Acts 5

Verses 17-26 are some of the most truly remarkable verses of the Book of Acts. When we last left the apostles, they were teaching in the temple at Solomon’s Portico — the very same place where Peter and John had been arrested for teaching about Jesus. In verse 17, we find the high priest (and the Sadducees with him) “filled with jealousy” toward the apostles for the esteem with which the people held them. So they arrested them, and put them in prison.

English: Illustration in 1883 encyclopaedia of...

English: Illustration in 1883 encyclopaedia of the ancient Jewish Sanhedrin council (from Greek synedrion, synhedrion) Русский: Иллюстрация в старинной энциклопедии заседание Синедриона (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But during the night, Luke tells us in verses 19-20, an angel of the Lord came and opened the doors to the prison. He told them to go back to the temple and “speak to the people all the words of this Life.” “This Life,” of course, means of salvation and eternal life. So they are to go back and do the very thing that got them thrown into this prison in the first place. Of course, the apostles did not question the wisdom of this, but went at daybreak and did exactly that.

In the morning, the Sanhedrin council convened, with everyone in their places of authority, and sent for the prisoners. What they found was that the doors to the prison were still locked, with guards outside – but no prisoners! So they returned and reported this to the council. Imagine their incredulity at this disappearing act right under the noses of the guards! They were at a loss at what to do. One might think that at some point here they would realize that they were fighting against the Lord. But remember this the next time you think that a miracle might convince someone of the truth, when the word of God itself does not.

Instead, they sent the captain of the temple with the officers back to the temple, as someone had come and told them where the apostles were. But verse 26 says that they did not bring them back by force because “they were afraid of being stoned by the people.” They should have been afraid of God!

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Please check out my Books and my Facebook Author’s Page. You will find the links at this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books“.

Jesus’ Work Goes On – Acts 5

As we might expect, the Book of Acts shows very well in many places how the apostles were about the work of continuing Jesus’ ministry. Peter and John showed us that when they healed the lame man at Simon’s Portico in Acts 3. Once again we find the apostles at Simon’s Portico in verses 12 of chapter 5. Verses 12-13:

Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.

Jesus Heals the Blind and Lame on the Mountain

Jesus Heals the Blind and Lame on the Mountain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some commentators take the position that this means that none of the non-Christian community would join them at Solomon’s Portico for fear of the Sadducees and particularly the Sanhedrin. But that surely cannot be the case because the point of the apostles going to Solomon’s Portico was to teach others the good news of Jesus Christ. The words “the rest” must refer to the other members of the core group of disciples, and they would not be needed to join the apostles in this effort, as they were fully capable of delivering the message.

The text also says that “more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” We have already seen the rapid growth of the church by the thousands (Acts 2:41, Acts 4:4). But now more than ever? The growth of the Lord’s church was literally exploding during this time! Before too many more chapters, the Christians would be “scattered” about the land because of persecution. The Lord was making sure there would be enough to scatter far and wide.

In verse 16, Luke tells us that people were bringing the lame, sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits from towns outside of Jerusalem, laying them out in the streets on cots and mats so that when Peter (and the other apostles) came by “at least his shadow might fall on some of them.” This sort of faith reminds me of the woman who just wanted to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment in Luke 8:43-48.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Please check out my Books and my Facebook Author’s Page. You will find the links at this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books“.

A Dark Heart – Acts 5

The opening part of chapter 5 is difficult for many to understand in a proper manner. A man named Ananias, whose wife was named Sapphira, sold a piece of property. To understand the context, refer to the end of chapter 4. It was a time of great unity in the early New Testament church. The Christians of the day were of one mind and one purpose, and they were all helping each other, helping the needy, and helping the apostles advance the Lord’s kingdom.

The Death of Ananias, by Raphael

The Death of Ananias, by Raphael (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we mentioned in the last post, nobody was expected to sell all of their worldly possessions. Neither was anyone required to sell anything at all. It was something that a great many of them were doing, so that the proceeds could be used to help the needy and advance the church. Verse two tells us that with his wife’s knowledge, Ananias kept part of the proceeds of the sale for himself, and came and laid the rest “at the apostle’s feet.”

Although the text so far does not indicate explicitly, we know from the next few verses that Ananias and Sapphira were telling everyone that they were putting all of the proceeds of the sale to use for the Lord’s church. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, knew what had actually transpired, and rebuked him for the lie, pointing out that it was all unnecessary in the first place. It was his house and his money, and he could have done with it as he pleased. Ananias collapsed and breathed his last breath upon hearing Peter’s words.

It was about three hours later when his wife Sapphira arrived, and Peter asked her whether they had sold the house for “so much” (Luke uses those words there because the actual amount was not important to the scripture). When she lied, saying that was the case, Peter rebuked her as well, and she also breathed her last breath.

The problem was not just with the lie itself, but with the intent behind it that showed an insincere heart when it came to what they were doing. God would have no such hypocrisy tarnish the unity and momentum that the Lord’s church had at that time.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Please check out my Books and my Facebook Author’s Page. You will find the links at this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books“.

Doing the Lord’s work – Acts 4

English: folio 11 recto of the codex with the ...

English: folio 11 recto of the codex with the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verses 32-37 detail a time and spirit of unity and of purpose that I dare say has not been equaled. The early Christians depicted here were many, and they were all of one mind – that of the good news of Jesus Christ, and of love for each other. Luke tells us that there was not a needy person among them. Those who were of some means sold possessions, including land and houses they owned, and “laid the money at the apostles feet” so that it could be distributed for the Lord’s work.

Notice that the scripture does not say that they sold all that they had. Barnabas, for example, sold a field. nobody was expected to divest themselves of all their earthly possessions. Where would the logic be in helping the needy by becoming needy yourself? That would not help the church. The point that was being made here by Luke is that everyone was indeed of one mind and unified in service to the Lord, and to each other — just as Jesus had commanded — while the apostles preached Jesus Christ crucified to the world at large.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Sovereign Lord – Acts 4

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded...

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded by angels, by Giaquinto, 1750s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Peter and John were released by the council, they went to their friends and told them all that had happened. What followed was what had to have been an incredibly uplifting experience, to say the very least. They start by praising God in a beautiful prayer, much of which is a wonderful model of prayer for us today as well.

When they finished, Luke tells us that the place where they were assembled actually shook! And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. God was giving His people everything they needed to move forward with the Lord’s church – knowledge, the Holy Spirit, and the confidence of knowing that He was with them. Here is their prayer to God on that momentous occasion, which God answered with that physical sign to assure them that there prayer was both heard and answered. See how many phrases you recognize as being very appropriate to use in prayer today:

Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth
and the sea and everything in them,
who through the mouth of our father David, your servant
said by the Holy Spirit,

“Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

for truly in this city there were gathered together
against your uholy servant Jesus, whom you anointed,
both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentile
and the peoples of Israel,
to do whatever your hand and your plan
had predestined to take place

And now, Lord, look upon their threats
and grant to your servants to continue
to speak your word with all boldness,
while you stretch out your hand to heal,
and signs and wonders are performed
through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Sanhedrin Releases Peter and John – Acts 4

English: Illustration in 1883 encyclopaedia of...

English: Illustration in 1883 encyclopaedia of the ancient Jewish Sanhedrin council (from Greek synedrion, synhedrion) Русский: Иллюстрация в старинной энциклопедии заседание Синедриона (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter’s speech to the Sanhedrin left them in a state of astonishment. Neither Peter nor John were educated men, and they knew it. Yet, Peter had spoken not only eloquently, but had demonstrated his knowledge of scripture as well. To further complicate matters for the Sanhedrin, the formerly lame man who was present was over 40 years old. He was well-known by all to have been lame, so there was no denying the fact that a miracle had been done.

We must not overlook either that by this time, all of the priests, as well as the Sanhedrin council itself, was aware that Jesus had been resurrected. Not only did they have the apostles all proclaiming it and baptizing people in Jesus’ name, but the problem with the empty tomb was there – and the leaders had already paid those who had been guarding it to lie about what happened (Matthew 28:13-15).

And just as Jesus had attracted supporters upon His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, there were conversions being made by baptism in staggering numbers. If the Sanhedrin had been afraid to arrest Jesus in the light of day, they were even more afraid to harm these two, when so many already knew very well what they had done for this lame man. They warned Peter and John not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus anymore.

But the two of them answered that they would obey God rather than these men. The best that the council could do then was threaten them again before releasing them. The people were openly praising God for what the two apostles had done for the lame man.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Peter Doesn’t Hold Back – Acts 4

Luke says that the morning after Peter and John were arrested, the rulers, elders and scribes met together. This refers to the Sanhedrin council, of course.He mentions Annas as high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander. Annas was actually deposed in 15 A. D. by the Roman Prefect, Valerius Gratus, and Caiaphas his son-in-law, held the official position. But that seemed top mean little to the Jews, and so the two served together basically, with Annas still being deferred to behind the scenes as though nothing had happened in 15 A. D.

Wenceslas Hollar - Jesus before Annas 2

Wenceslas Hollar – Jesus before Annas 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are some who believe that the John mentioned here was Annas’ son, Jonathan, who was successor to Caiaphas. Others think that it was a famous priest of that day named Jochanan ben Zaccai. Alexander may have been Alexander the Alabarch, whose son married Berenice, the daughter of Herod Agrippa [1].

They brought Peter and John before them, and the lame man, who they had healed, was present as well. The council asked them “by what power or by what name” they had done this. Luke tells us that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit when he answered. And in 8-12 he spoke in detail of Jesus’ death,  the fact that God raised Him from the dead, and how there is no other name by which we can be saved. Notice that he quoted Psalms 118:22, as Jesus did in Matthew 21:42::

…let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

It is important to notice as well that this same Peter, who denied Jesus three times, boldly tells this same council that condemned the Lord to death that they themselves were culpable for the miscarriage of justice done to the Son of God. Peter was indeed feeding the Lord’s sheep; and he was attempting to feed the “goats” as well (Matthew 25:32).

 

[1] Flavius Josephus, Jewish antiquities 20.100-103

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Apostles Arrested! – Acts 4

sadducees_100714In the opening verses of chapter 4, we find Peter and John still speaking to the people who had witnessed the healing of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate. But Luke tells us that the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees “came upon them.” The “captain” of the temple was not a military figure or anything like that. It was simply a term used to denote someone in a supervisory role to the priests and Levites in the temple.

The text says that they were greatly annoyed because Peter and John “were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” This would be particularly annoying to the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:8). So they arrested the two apostles, and kept them for the night, as it was already late in the day.

But it was too late to stop what had obviously been God’s purpose that day. Verse 4 makes it pretty clear that the two apostles had not simply drawn the attention of a couple of dozen of temple-goers. Luke says that many believed as a result of their preaching and the miracle, and that the number of men came to about five thousand. So we can assume that upwards of 10,000 men and women had been persuaded in the gospel by that incident. Jesus’ church was growing very quickly indeed.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Reasoned Faith – The Author of Life

The Big Bang

The Big Bang (Photo credit: ToniVC)

According to a Fox news article, “Americans put a big question mark on the concept” of the universe beginning with a “Big Bang.” This comes from an Associated Press-GfK poll. Of course, those scientists that take the theory of a Big Bang as fact, dismiss this out of hand. Those of us who believe in the bible as the inerrant word of God have to wonder and marvel at this.

Last week, I was watching a re-run of the movie “Mission to Mars.” It had been so long, I did not remember how it turned out exactly. But at the end, they discovered that Mars had been inhabited millions of years ago (of course, everything has to involve millions of years, doesn’t it?) And now, because of some high-tech communication they had left behind for humans who would find it (a sort of 3D holographic movie), the secret of life was revealed.

Millions of years ago, when their planet was dying, this super-advanced race had prepared to jet away to other worlds in spacecrafts. Not earth, the closest one, mind you. But some had chosen to send the building blocks of life to earth. We are shown that progression, as these building blocks (whatever they represented), went through the entire progression that evolutionists insist had happened over the course of  — you guessed it — millions of years. And voila! Here man is today. It all makes sense now.

It just amazes me that absolutely ANYTHING is more palatable to such unbelievers than belief in the true author of life, our heavenly Father.  If we instead believe that a long dead race of ancient aliens created life out of practically nothing, then, of course, we are not accountable to anyone.

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water (2 Peter 3:5)

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.