The religious leaders were in a bind. They thought they’d put an end to Jesus. But now his disciples claimed their miracles were performed in the power of the resurrected Jesus. Peter and John’s bind was different. They’d been arrested, held in jail overnight, and called on the carpet by the Sanhedrin, the nation’s highest Jewish ruling body.
Interact with God’s Word: Acts 4:7-22
- Do you think the authorities arrested Peter and John for healing the crippled beggar or for their witnessing afterward?
- Did Peter back off at all here (v. 10) from his impromptu message to the curious after the healing (3:9-26)?
- Why (v. 13) were the council members amazed by Peter and John?
- How did the Sanhedrin respond (vv. 17-21) to their defense?
- How did the two respond (vv. 19-20) to the Sanhedrin ruling?
- Why (v. 21) were Peter and John let go instead of being sentenced?
- Would their response have been different if the outcome had been more drastic? (See vv. 29—31.)
Spend Time in Prayer: Ask God for the wisdom to know when and how to take a stand, and the courage to carry it out.
7 They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, 9 are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. 15 So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves.
16 “What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. 17 But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” 18 So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
21 The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God 22 for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.