In chapter 4, 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 , but 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.
Peter and John were arrested. When they 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.
In chapter 5, Ananias and Sapphira were telling everyone that they were putting all of the proceeds of the sale of their property to use for the Lord’s church. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, knew what had actually transpired, and rebuked Ananias 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.
Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke
Acts 3, Acts 4, Acts 5, Acts 6, Acts 7
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.
All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.