Acts chapter four details the account where Peter and John were brought before the Jewish religious leaders. The Bible explains that the religious leaders and Sadducees were increasingly annoyed at the healing performed in Acts three and the teaching about Jesus’ death and resurrection. In this regard, “A healing at the temple gives them [Peter and John] an open door to declare plainly that Jesus, crucified and resurrected, is the long-awaited Messiah who fulfills all the predictions from the prophets” (MacArthur). Thus, we learn many people were repenting of their sin and following Christ. The church and those following Jesus increased in large numbers. Dr. John MacArthur writes, “With the coming of the Spirit upon the followers of Christ, the church was born and immediately began to grow.” As one can imagine, those who crucified Christ, not to mention those who also rejected Him, were agitated with the apostles preaching and teaching. In fact, “Their preaching, however, gets them in trouble with the Sanhedrin, the same authorities who arrested and killed Jesus…These religious leaders now seek to intimidate and silence His followers” (MacArthur).
Disciples Defended Jesus
The disciples stood strong in defending Jesus’ name (Acts 4:5-14). The Bible tells us that the religious leaders had gathered and interrogated Peter and John about the healing of the lame beggar (Acts 3). The pivotal question asked was, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” (Acts 4:7). In response to the question, Peter says, “let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole” (Acts 4:10). Peter defends Jesus as the Messiah and very pointedly states, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). In this regard, one author comments, “There was, and is, ‘no other name’ through which men can be saved than the name of Jesus. Only faith in Jesus of Nazareth saves Jew or Gentile (Rom. 4:16ff)” (Believers Study Bible). Not only was that Truth for those back then, but it is also the Truth for us today.
The only response that the Jewish religious leaders had was to threaten Peter and John. Acts 4:17 explains how the religious leaders sought to silence these bold Jesus followers. The Bible says, “But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them that from now on they speak to no man in this name. So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:17-18). As any Bible reader knows, the disciples did not listen to the threats from the religious leaders. They purposed in their hearts and mind to preach and teach about Jesus.
Disciples Persevered In Prayer
The disciples persevered in prayer. In Acts 4:23-31, the Bible tells us that the disciples prayed for boldness. As noted, the disciples were threatened; therefore, they did the best thing they could do…they prayed. Acts 4:29-30 says, “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word. By stretching your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” Dr. Warren Wiersbe says, “It was a united prayer meeting as they ‘lifted up their voice to God with one accord’ (Acts 4:24)… The people were of one heart and mind, and God was pleased to answer their requests.”
The disciples found themselves under scrutiny for preaching and teaching Jesus; however, the Holy Spirit was mighty with them, and they boldly continued to proclaim Jesus. One author writes, “Note the threefold result of the prayer of the apostles and the church after the deliverance from the Sanhedrin: (1) ‘the place where they were assembled together was shaken’; (2) ‘they were all filled with the Holy Spirit’; and (3) ‘they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Believers Study Bible).
Are you praying for boldness to share Christ in your school, work, teams, and jobs?
In an increasingly hostile world toward Christianity, are you facing any types of ridicule for your faith in Christ?
Are you praying and seeking, not only to be filled by the Holy Spirit but also to be led and guided by His wisdom?