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.  

Advertisements

John 18 – Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

 

Olive Trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives

Having finished the Olivet discourse, including His prayer, Jesus and His disciples went across the Kidron brook into a garden.  John does not identify Gethsemane as Matthew and Mark do (Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32).  But he does say in verse 2 that Judas knew the place where Jesus would be because He often met there with His disciples.  And we know from several scriptures (Luke 21:37 and Luke 22:39, for example)  that it was His custom to go to the Mount of Olives at night.  Knowing that this was the time, Jesus came forward to the soldiers and officers of the Pharisees that Judas had brought.  Much commentary has been written about verse 6 (“When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground”) – but we just do not know exactly what happened there.  Clearly however, this was a significant response that we would not have expected from Jesus’ captors.  But it really does seem appropriate for the Son of God at this hour in His life.

Verses 15-17 contain the account of Peter’s denial.  Though we are not told, the “other disciple” mentioned in verses 15-16 is probably John himself (the disciple that Jesus loved – as in John 20:2). John is the only one of the four gospels that gives us the account of Jesus going first to Annas. He had been High Priest from 6-15 A.D., but had been deposed by Valerius Gratus, the former Roman prefect of Judea (Josephus Antiquities 18.26, 34, 95).  But the position stayed in the family – currently his son-in-law, Caiaphas.  Since the position had traditionally been one that was life-long, Annas was still considered a High Priest by many Jews.  Jesus was then taken to Caiaphas.  John does not record the events of that encounter, but the synoptic gospels do (Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:53-65, and Luke 22:66-71).  It was Caiaphas that had suggested that Jesus should die back in John 11:49-51.

After Judas singled Jesus out for arrest, the mob took Jesus first to Annas, then Caiaphas, the high priest. Jesus then was taken to Pilate

From there, Jesus was taken to the Praetorian – the Roman governor’s residence – to appear before Pilate.  In verse 31, Pilate wants them to “judge him by your own law.”  But the Roman government had supposedly taken away the Sanhedrin’s right to capital punishment (though clearly they exercised exceptions to this, as with Stephen in Acts 7:57-60), and they wanted Him put to death.  Besides, as verse 32 reminds us, it was the Roman method of execution that would fulfill the scripture (Isaiah 52:13, John 12:32-33).  When Pilate speaks with Jesus asking what He had done and whether He was a kink, Jesus lays aside all doubt as to what type of Kingdom He had come to establish in verse 36:

“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Pilate still tries to avoid the responsibility for their blood lust, but he lacks the courage to go against the crowd.  So he offers to free either Jesus or the known criminal Barabbas, no doubt thinking they would choose the latter.

But such was not to be.  Jesus took the place of all of us, including Barrabas.

 

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  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.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

 

Mark 10 – Jesus Came to Serve

Here, Jesus was teaching the crowds that gathered around Him; and once again the Pharisees came to test Him.  As He once again condemns divorce in verses 2-12, the exception for adultery is not mentioned here as it is in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9.  This is because there was no disagreement about adultery where divorce was concerned in Jewish, Greek or Roman cultures.  But the message is clear – God has always taken marriage seriously, intending one man for one woman from the beginning (Genesis 2:24).

Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus (Matthew 20:29-32; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43).

The rich man in verse 17 wants to know what he needs to do to inherit eternal life.  In verse 21, Jesus tells him to “sell all that you have and give to the poor.”  This is not a command for everyone to give away all of their possessions, nor does it mean that being wealthy is wrong.  Jesus knew what was in the man’s heart, and his wealth was his god – his idol; and no one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).  The reason that He says it is difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven is because of the tendency of man to love earthly possessions so much that they come to believe in their own self-sufficiency.  This makes us believe we do not need God.  When the Israelites were wandering the desert, God was providing the manna for them (Exodus 16) daily, teaching them to depend on the Lord.  It is when we forget how much we need Him that we lose our way, and fall away from God.  Most of us are not wealthy, right?  Maybe so, but just remember – a person today making less than $50,000 per year is still very wealthy compared to the majority of earth’s population.  And we still have our “idols” today.

Jesus again foretells His death in verses 32-34 – this time giving His apostles even more detail – “they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”   But apparently they still aren’t “getting it.”  In verses 35-37, James and John ask Jesus to give them each a special place beside him when He comes into His glory.  It is hard to imagine all that is going through their minds, particularly following Jesus’ last prediction of His death.  But clearly they have a mistaken understanding of the Kingdom.  Jesus tells them they don’t know what they are asking.  The baptism he is speaking of in verse 39 is of suffering. Jesus uses the occasion to explain that serving others is the work of His Kingdom (verses 42-45) – a point He will continue to drive home before His death.  Verse 45 is a fitting summary – “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  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.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.