The more resolute are Christ’s servants to witness of Him, the more spiteful will be the agents of Satan therefore, let Satan’s agents be ever so spiteful, Christ’s witnesses must be resolute, for the Holy Spirit may be counted upon to enable them to do their part. Persecution gives wings to the truth.
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.
23 ¶ And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
31 ¶ And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Acts 4:1-2 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 4:3-10 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 4:11-12 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 4:13-22 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 4:23-37 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 4:1-12 – The Name above Every Name
The Sadducees are particularly mentioned, because they were the agnostics of the age, and had no belief in the unseen and eternal. The fact of our Lord’s resurrection was, therefore, especially obnoxious to them. The captain of the Temple, who was head of the Levitical guard, was probably their nominee. How weak man shows himself when he sets himself against God! All that they could do was to shut the Apostles up; but they could not bind nor imprison the Living Spirit or the speech of one saved soul to another, and so the numbers of disciples kept mounting up.
Peter must have contrasted this with his former appearance in that hall. Then he trusted his own power; now he was specially filled with the Holy Spirit for a great and noble confession. The name of Jesus stands for His glorious being. It was because the man had come into vital union with the ever-living Christ, that disease was stayed and health restored. The name of Jesus rings through these chapters like a sweet refrain. Evidently He was living and at hand, or the streams of power and grace could not have poured forth to make desert lives begin to blossom as the garden of the Lord. —Through the Bible Day by Day
BACK TO CHRIST.
Hard and exacting is the toil of the preacher. Especially so in these years when a cultured and enlightened pew demands the religious discourse presented in the best form and embellished with the adornments which modern art and literatre supply. A preacher who yields to the extreme demands of modern thought, however, will soon find himself abandoning the true and best source of sermon material and will begin to forage in the desert fields of literature to find sustenance or an impoverished mind. Many such a preacher, tired and heartless, would find instant relief if he would but burn the human aids to the manufacture of artificial sermons and turn to the rich mines of truth which still lie unexplored in the sacred word. Back to Christ is the call of a starving world which is now shepherdless and unfed.
Acts 4:13-22 – Braving Men to Obey God
Do people realize that there is something about us which cannot be accounted for except that we have been with Jesus? Our company always influences us. A man is known by the company he keeps. Good manners are caught by association with the well-mannered. What, then, will not be the effect upon us, if only we live in fellowship with Jesus! Our faces will shine with a reflection of His purity and beauty; and the ancient prayer will be answered, “Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,” Psalm 90:17. Our converts are our best arguments. The man which was healed (was) standing with them—his face suffused with the light of a new energy and hope. That fact answered all the sophistries of these Jewish leaders. It was as impossible to stay the effect of that miracle as to bid the sun cease shining. Note the exuberance of the life of God! We cannot but speak, Acts 4:20. When once we have got the real thing, we cannot and dare not be still; we must speak. As the swelling seed will break down a brick wall, so when the love of Christ constrains us, though all the world is in arms, we must bear witness to our Lord. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Acts 4:23-35 – Help from on High
Like draws to like; Judas went to his own place, and the Apostles to their own company. The best answer to threats is prayer. The Apostles’ one petition just then was for boldness. They scorned to ask for their own safety; it was enough if Jesus was glorified.
What a note of jubilant triumph was in that glorious prayer, offered by this threatened little band! They realized that they were under the special protection of God, who had made the world, had spoken by the prophets, and was the Father of Jesus. They thought that more miracles of healing would promote their cause; but, though they did not realize it at the time, their unity, love, hope, willingness to share their goods, coupled with their intrepid bearing, were their most potent arguments. Notice that in their consciousness, it was God’s hand that was being stretched out to heal, though their hands were the immediate channel of its beneficent operations. They had been filled before, but they were filled again. It is our privilege to claim repeated infillings to make good our leakage and evaporation. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Acts 4:31—They were all filled with the Holy Ghost.
They had been filled on the Day of Pentecost, and Peter had been suddenly and mightily infilled for his encounter with the Sanhedrim (Acts 4:8); but here again they were all privileged, in the attitude of prayer and praise, to be once more most blessedly infilled. From this we gather that we may claim repeated fillings of the Holy Spirit.
But let us remember that it is not necessary for the place to be shaken, or for the air to be filled with the outward phenomena of Pentecost as the necessary condition of this heavenly gift. Mr. Fletcher reminds us that the Lord may be pleased to come softly to our help. He may make an end of our corruption by helping us to sink gently to unknown depths of meekness. Like Naaman, we are full of prejudices. We expect that the Penecostal gift will come to us with as much ado, pomp, and bustle, as the Syrian general looked for. But the blessed Paraclete often disconcerts all these preconceived notions. When we are looking for the hurricane, He comes as the zephyr. When we are expecting the torrent to pour into and fill the well, He fills it by single drops.
But the results will always be the same—great boldness in witness-bearing, much liberty in prayer and praise; great grace and beauty of character; self-denying love for those in need; great power through union with the risen Lord. In no other way could we have accounted for the marvellous change which passed over the followers of Jesus, delivering them from the cowardice. wrangling, and prejudices of former days. Oh for a similar transforming experience for us all! —Our Daily Homily
Acts 4:36-37 – Lying to the Holy Spirit
The Spirit of God is the source of generous and liberal giving. It is a poor substitute to set up bazaars, and fairs, and ice cream suppers. When the Church is filled with the Holy Spirit, her pockets will be easily emptied before His gracious, thawing presence. Let the sun arise in the heavens, and the frozen streams are instantly liberated and begin to sing on their way to transform wildernesses into gardens. —Through the Bible Day by Day