Day 5 - Acts 4:13-37 - The Book of Acts


Day 5 Acts 4:13-37

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were
uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with
Jesus. 14 But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in
opposition. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

Here are a few observations you can learn from verse 13.  When under the influence of the Holy Spirit - you will discover a boldness you've never had before.  Please do not confuse this with arrogance.  They are not the same thing.  Boldness means to speak up without fear.  Usually arrogance comes from someone who is bluffing and it is usually from a heart of fear. 

The priests knew that they were uneducated men.  That isn't to mean that they were stupid, it simple means that they didn't have the same level of education that they had.  These priests assumed that if you can speak with such authority you apparently are well educated.  A few people have used this passage to excuse themselves from learning through education.  That isn't the point here.  There is nothing wrong with education.  But education can never replace the direct influence of the Holy Spirit.

Now they recognize that these men had been with Jesus.  The knew the source of this wisdom.  When the Holy Spirit lives within you do people see and experience the source of your life?  

In the next verse the priests find themselves in a conundrum.  They do not agree with Peter and Johns theology.  Yet there in front of them is proof of what they teach.  What happens next is quite sad, but a fact that we all deal with everyday.  

They send Peter and John out while they discuss their next step of action.  Without hesitation they reject their theology in the face of tangible proof.  Then they try to figure out some way to silence this teaching.  

The people of Jerusalem were smarter than these learned men of theology.  In the face of these miracles and wonders (many which have been done by this time) they refuse accept the fact that God has fulfilled His prophecies and that they are on the ground floor of the greatest movement of faith ever.  You will face people who will do the same thing.  You cannot allow them to silence your faith nor dictate your theology (as these priests are about to do).  

Peter and John are brought back into the room and told to shut up.  Their response is inspired and classic.  “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”  Very simply they said, "You determine whether or not it is right for us to listen to God or to you.  In other words, who has greater authority in this matter, you or God?"  Then they make a simple statement that should have sent these priests reeling.  "All we are doing is telling people what we have seen and heard?"  What have you seen and/or heard?  If you don't have anything to say or tell others, ask God to show you something.  Believe me when I tell you - He likes to show off. 

23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage, 27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

There is no doubt in my mind that by this time the whole church in Jerusalem knew that Peter and John were in custody.  What was going to happen?  Would they be crucified like Jesus?  Would they remain in jail for an undetermined amount of time?  I'm sure that they were praying for them during this ordeal.  

But upon return Peter and John testify, to the glory of God what had happened.  There is power in a story about God.  When you tell people what Jesus has done for you, they will experience the  overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit.  These people, in unison and unity, praised God for what had happened.  

There is much to learn through this prayer.  Who do they address?  What inspires them?  What did Jesus do for them?  But what I want to focus on is what they ask for.  Just a simple pray - but powerful.  Help us to keep doing what we have been doing all along for you Jesus!  What a great prayer.  I can't help but think, can we pray such a prayer?  Have we done something in Jesus name that would encourage us to ask for more?  Or do we find ourselves in the position of asking for more so we can petition Jesus later.  

When the Bible says that the place was shaken, it doesn't mean by an earthquake.  It is a significant move of God through the Holy Spirit.  

32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

The key wording here is in verse 33, "great grace".  What is the picture that Luke wants you to see here? 
- They were in unity.  There was to jealousy or infighting going on. 
- Everyone had their needs met.  This wasn't under compulsion.  People loved one another. 
- The message of Jesus was being proclaimed long and loud for all to hear.  
- People were selling property to help support the needs of the church.  

Remember that many of these people were transplants who stayed from the day of Pentecost.  While we don't know how much time has passed from Chapter 2 until now (The book of Acts covers around 30 years of early church history) there is a need.  

Also, in a few chapters we will discover that ministry is happening in Jerusalem.  Not only are they taking care of themselves, they are also taking care of those who cannot help themselves.  

English Standard Version (ESV)

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