Summary: When we meet Peter and John in Acts 4, they are in a situation that we would expect to produce fear. Fear is a rational response. •They have been arrested and thrown in prison. Their very lives are threatened. •Yet instead of fear, we see boldness a
Standing Firm on a Solid Foundation
Fear. It is perhaps the common human emotion. And we all have things we are afraid of.
•There are scientific names for every fear imaginable.
•There is claustrophobia, the fear of enclosed places; acrophobia, the fear of high places; agoraphobia, the fear of open places
•One fear made famous by Steven Spielberg in his movie of the same name is Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders. My wife has serious Arachnophobia. She will call me from any duty I am doing to come kill a spider.
•There are all kinds of obscure phobias: anthropophobia, the fear of people; bacteriophobia, the fear of bacteria; zoophobia, the fear of animals; eisopetrophobia, the fear of mirrors; metophobia, the fear of money; telephonophobia, the fear of the telephone; blennophobia, the fear of slime; musophobia, the fear of mice; microphobia, the fear of small things; neophobia, the fear of new things
•There are still more: scotophobia, fear of darkness; carcinophobia, fear of cancer; hydrophobophobia, the fear of rabies; algophobia, the fear of pain; kinetophobia, the fear of motion; tachophobia, the fear of speed; autophobia, the fear of being alone; There is triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number thirteen; oikophobia, the fear of home; thanathophobia, the fear of death; hypegiaphobia, the fear of responsibility (I know a few guys who have that one); that can be related to gametophobia, the fear of marriage;
•There is even phobophobia, the fear of fear. And if you can’t make up your mind. There is pantophobia, the fear of everything.
•If you are here this morning, you probably don’t have Ecclesiophobia, the fear of church. Gymnasiaphobia – I just made that one up.
Fear is in fact a good thing. Without it, we would not know when to run; when to tread cautiously.
•Fear of snakes is a good thing, for example, when a 7 foot rattler lying in front of you on the hiking trail.
•Fear of the dark is a good thing when walking alone at night in a dangerous neighborhood
When we meet Peter and John in Acts 4, they are in a situation that we would expect to produce fear. Fear is a rational response.
•They have been arrested and thrown in prison. Their very lives are threatened.
•Yet instead of fear, we see boldness and courage. Boldness and courage that could only come from the power of the Spirit of God in their lives.
Turn with me to Acts 4
•Last week we saw how Peter and John healed a man who had been lame at the Temple gate.
•The man was begging and called out for money; Peter had no money, but he gave him something better, he healed him in Jesus’ name.
•When a crowd formed Peter seized the opportunity to tell them about Jesus.
Our story today picks up where that one took off. Just as Peter is finishing preaching, the Temple authorities show up.
•They are concerned by the crowd, which could mean a riot; and they don’t like what Peter is saying so they arrest him and John and throw them in jail overnight.
•Read 4:1-3 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day.
•A hearing is planned for the next day.
Now this is a very dangerous situation.
•After all, only a few months earlier Jesus had been arrested in this same city.
•And the scenario is dangerously familiar.
•Jesus, after all, was arrested primarily because of a disturbance in the Temple, casting out the moneychangers. Peter and John were creating a disturbance in the Temple.
•Jesus was arrested because he was accused of leading people astray. The leaders were jealous that the crowds were following him. Jesus left about 120 followers. Don’t forget that 3,000 people became believers in Jesus on the Day of Pentecost. We learn in verse 4 that this number had now grown to about 5,000. They are even more of a threat.
•Notice, too, who Peter and John stand before the next day: Verse 5: The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family.
•This is the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court; the same body that condemned Jesus.
•Caiaphas was the high priest. Annas was his father-in-law, who was the real power broker among the leadership. These are the very men before whom Jesus was tried. After his arrest, Jesus had been taken first to the home of Annas, where his fate was really sealed. He then went to Caiaphas, where a mock trial was held, and he was turned over to Pilate who crucified him.