Summary: Peter and John stand before the highest religious court in the land, THIS is the perfect opportunity for the Sanhedrin to once and for all disprove the Apostle’s claim that Jesus Christ has resurrected.
Peter and John stand before the highest religious court in the land because the evening before they claimed a man was healed by the power and name of the resurrected Jesus Christ of Nazareth. THIS is the perfect opportunity for the Sanhedrin to once and for all disprove the Apostle’s claim that Jesus Christ has resurrected.
Here, the highest religious court in the land has two of the leaders who were the followers of Jesus standing right in front of them! The Sanhedrin have them right where they want them. Here is their golden opportunity, handed to them on a silver platter - gathered on one side of this great hall, a majority of the most brilliant minds of the day on the intricacies of the Hebrew Bible and on the intricacies of Judaism, and standing on the other side of this great hall are two untrained men from the minor region of Galilee.
This should be child’s play.
Notice, the Sanhedrin do not take action here, or at any other time, to disprove the claims of the resurrection of Jesus. What is absolutely amazing here is that Peter makes two incredible claims - and these brilliant men cannot refute these claims, they are at a loss for words.
First, the members of the Sanhedrin suffered from self deceit; Second the members of the Sanhedrin are up against the Holy Spirit and third the Sanhedrin must abide by the time and plan of the almighty God, they are helpless against it.
For us here this morning we learn several applicable things: We learn that the claims of the resurrection of Jesus and salvation by Jesus name alone are not new claims by Christians, nor are they somehow derived by fancy bible reading - look it is clear as day therein verse 12 - read it for yourself.
We also see that if we are placed in impossible situations, the Holy Spirit will be able to give us the words to express what needs to be expressed. In other words, God can give us words that are not our own; God will speak through us to accomplish His holy will.
Further, we learn that the truth can be told, events cannot be denied, great people can speak the words of the Holy Spirit and people will still not be able to believe. There are many factors of why this is, but one of them is certainly God’s timing. These powerful men did not believe for many reasons, but one of them is God’s timing. See, persecution against the church has to begin so that the church will move out of a regional event and into a worldwide phenomenon.
So, Peter and John are arrested and put in jail. Why? The Captain of the Temple Guard, decided that Peter and John were causing a disturbance in the Temple, and that was that. The Captain of the Temple Guard, was a very powerful man, second only to high priest. He was in charge of order in the Temple. He the commander of the temple police and may have had misgivings about so large a crowd gathered in one area of the Temple. The Captain of the Temple Guard commanded a body of hand picked Levites who answered to him, like a small private army you might say.
Now their arrest has nothing to do with committing a crime. The simple fact is that because of the time of day there is no time to bring Peter and John before the authorities and so they are placed in jail overnight and will be brought before the Sanhedrin the next day. That is how an authoritarian government works. That is how the ancient world worked, people didn’t have rights, they were at the mercy of their government. Peter and John are not charged with a crime - they are just people of interest….
Take quick note of verse 4 where we read that the number of believers had risen to about 5000. Note that that number of 5000 is only men. If we add to that number women, adolescents and children, the number would easily be over 10,000.
That is phenomenal. No wonder the Sanhedrin are meeting to see what this is all about. They had Jesus put to death and they thought that would be the end of it. Now a short time later instead of a handful of followers, Jesus has over 10,000 - and the numbers are quickly rising.
The number of senior members who arrive at the meeting show the seriousness of the situation. We see that, “Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family.” (verse 6) These are powerful men who would not show up for a minor disturbance. These men are intelligent, highly educated and very, very powerful, they are the most powerful Jews in the kingdom.