Summary: Any progress in the Christian life will face opposition

Peter's conflict with the religious leaders Acts 4:1-22

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.

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?

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. 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. 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.

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.

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.

Now, you can’t really understand what’s happening in chapter four unless you’ve read chapter three and see that Peter and John had just healed the crippled man and then Peter preached a sermon that had somewhere around two thousand converts. And when something like this happens it’s bound to get the attention of those who saw themselves in charge of religious affairs and we see representatives from three different groups showing up to investigate. Now, let me go through them as they’re listed to inform those of us who are new and remind the rest of us, who these people were.

In terms of an outline here, we’ll see the religious leaders, then the question they asked and finally how Peter answered it.

So, first, there are the religious leaders

Verse one says’ ‘And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them.’

So, this wasn’t just a couple of temple employees but we have three different groups mentioned here and the first group were the priests.

So, as verse 1 says, ‘there are the priests, the captain of the temple and the Sadducees’ and these men had all gathered for one purpose and that was to stop Peter, John and any of their converts from disturbing the temple operations.

Second, the religious leaders asked Peter and John a question

And their question had nothing to do with the healing which had happened which was why everyone was gathered there in the first place. But listen, these men didn’t care who got healed or even how it happened but all they cared about was that Peter and John were teaching about Jesus and the resurrection from the dead and that undercut everything they stood for.

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