Unity in Christ Jesus
Acts 4:1-22: Peter and John are arrested for teaching about Jesus and his resurrection, and the religious leaders question them. The Council warns them to stop preaching about Jesus and then sets them free.
Peter and John before the Council
4 Peter and John were still speaking to the people when some priests,[a] the officer in charge of the Temple guards, and some Sadducees arrived. 2 They were annoyed because the two apostles were teaching the people that Jesus had risen from death, which proved that the dead will rise to life. 3 So they arrested them and put them in jail until the next day, since it was already late. 4 But many who heard the message believed; and the number grew to about five thousand.
5 The next day the Jewish leaders, the elders, and the teachers of the Law gathered in Jerusalem. 6 They met with the High Priest Annas and with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and the others who belonged to the High Priest’s family. 7 They made the apostles stand before them and asked them, “How did you do this? What power do you have or whose name did you use?”
8 Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders: 9 if we are being questioned today about the good deed done to the lame man and how he was healed, 10 then you should all know, and all the people of Israel should know, that this man stands here before you completely well through the power of the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth—whom you crucified and whom God raised from death. 11 Jesus is the one of whom the scripture says,
‘The stone that you the builders despised
turned out to be the most important of all.’
12 Salvation is to be found through him alone; in all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can save us.”
13 The members of the Council were amazed to see how bold Peter and John were and to learn that they were ordinary men of no education. They realized then that they had been companions of Jesus. 14 But there was nothing that they could say, because they saw the man who had been healed standing there with Peter and John. 15 So they told them to leave the Council room, and then they started discussing among themselves. 16 “What shall we do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone in Jerusalem knows that this extraordinary miracle has been performed by them, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to keep this matter from spreading any further among the people, let us warn these men never again to speak to anyone in the name of Jesus.”
18 So they called them back in and told them that under no condition were they to speak or to teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “You yourselves judge which is right in God’s sight—to obey you or to obey God. 20 For we cannot stop speaking of what we ourselves have seen and heard.” 21 So the Council warned them even more strongly and then set them free. They saw that it was impossible to punish them, because the people were all praising God for what had happened. 22 The man on whom this miracle of healing had been performed was over forty years old.
[Peter said:] “The promises of God through his prophets are for you, and you share in the covenant which God made with your ancestors.”
How did Peter and John defend themselves? Why were they warned not to speak about Jesus? Have you ever had to defend your beliefs in the face of opposition? If so, how did God empower you when facing such challenges?
Almighty God, by the power of your Holy Spirit, teach me to speak your word of truth and, in Jesus’s name, to boldly proclaim your message of love and salvation. Amen.
Acts 4:23-37: The believers pray for boldness.