Summary: The early church in conflict with the elders of the city.
And They Laid Hands on Them
It was just a short time after the church was birthed that the apostles began to understand what Jesus had said concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. He had told His disciples, “If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”
In the four chapter of the book of Acts we see the powers of darkness at work trying to stop the rapid growth of the early church as the apostle spoke concerning the things pertaining to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Satan’s agents were spiteful against the church and continue to work against the church today. Yet Peter and John, continued their work, and did not labor in vain, for the Spirit of God enabled them as they preached the gospel in Jerusalem and Judea.
These four verses show us that they faithfully delivered the doctrine of Christ; they spoke unto the people, and what they had to say was spoken openly and publicly. They taught the people, those that believed to establish them in the faith, and the ones who didn’t believe, that they might hear the message of the cross.
They preached the death and also the resurrection, proclaiming that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. Paul said, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
The message that Peter preached pricked the heart of the hearer, verse four stated, “Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.” I believe this is why the gospel became so powerful because it was the spoken word. Or what is called a Rama word.
As they preached the message of the cross they were persecuted, yet the word of God prevailed; sometimes when the church is suffering it has its most successful days.
Because of the miracle at the temple gate the chief priests and their party began to make a case against Peter and John, doing what they could to crush them. The apostle’s hands were tied for a while, but their spirit was not dampened nor their resolve changed.
The ones that stood against them were the ones who should have been for them. There were the priests; who were sworn enemies of Christ and his gospel, they were jealous for their priesthood as Caesar for his monarchy.
When Peter preached Jesus Christ as the priest and king; they could not bear the thought of Him being their rival. So joining with the priests, was the captain of the temple, probably a Roman officer, also the Sadducees and John the son of Annas.
Verse two states, “The priests were grieved that the apostle taught the people.” It grieved them, both that the gospel doctrine was preached, and that the people were so ready to hear it. They thought when they had put Christ to death, the battle was over and his disciples would be ashamed and afraid to own Him.
It vexed them to see they were wrong, and the gospel prevailed, “The wicked shall see it, and be grieved,” Psalms 112:10 they were grieved at what they should have rejoiced in. It grieved them that the apostles preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
Verse three states, “And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day; for it was now eventide.”
I ask you, are you aware that the day has arrived when the Christians liberties that we have enjoyed for so many years are being taken from us. Each day brings a new attack on the spiritual fiber of our nation. Remember that Jesus said, “Many will come in my name, saying I am the Christ, believe them not.”
So, being held overnight Peter and John were brought before the judges of the ecclesiastical court, for preaching a sermon concerning Jesus Christ, and working miracles in his name.
Notice those present for the hearing, the rulers, and elders, and scribes. Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John and Alexander and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, they were gathered at Jerusalem.
The very place where the church was birthed had now become a place of suffering for the believers. Jerusalem the place where redemption could be found had become a harlot.
The place where Jesus uttered these words, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kills the prophets and stones them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathered her chickens under her wings and ye would not.”
Jerusalem the place where Jesus will sit upon the throne of David had become a place of rivalry.