GOD ESTABLISHES HIS CHURCH IN THE WORLD
What Happens When You Hang Around Jesus?
Jerry A Collins
Why do religious leaders want to persecute Christians?
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
Why is their salvation in no other name than Jesus?
It is an important principle that says we often become like the people we choose to hang around with. That is why it is so important the kind of friends your children have. One of my brothers who had served some time in prison many years ago, says that it was the direct result of the friends he chose to have in his life. Without that he would never have participated in the things that eventually landed him there. The disciples, now apostles, were also influenced by someone they had chosen to hang around with. We see in this passage the influence of being around Jesus expressed in their message, ministry, mandate and manner. Their enemies recognized them as having been with Jesus vs. 13 and that made all of the difference.
1. THE INFLUENCE OF JESUS’ MESSAGE DEMANDS DECISIONS 1-4 The they in vs. 1 is Peter and John vs. 13. It is their message they heard from Jesus that demands decisions. The nature of the message forces a decision to be made. There are only two decisions that can be made. They are both illustrated here.
(1) The decision to oppose this message 1-3. The opposition came from the priests, captain of the temple, Sanhedrin. The Priests were the ordinary priests who conducted sacrifices. The Captain of the temple guard was the chief of the temple police force. The Sadducees were wealthy landowners and businessmen who had political aspirations and opposed the Pharisees not believing in a resurrection, angels or the spirit world. This entourage were religiously connected as we shall see with the rulers, elders, scribes and high priest (vs. 5-6). Together this was formidable opposition. It says they came upon them being greatly disturbed and has the idea of coming suddenly and what greatly disturbed them was first, that Peter and John were teaching the people vs. 2. These men had no credentials, no sanction or reputation as teachers and yet they were confidently teaching people while they were uneducated and untrained men vs. 13. This was intolerable. And offensive to them. Second, they taught by means of Jesus the resurrection of the dead. Christ is proof of the resurrection 1 Cor 15. The Apostles used Jesus as proof of resurrection truth and the Sadducees could not tolerate that. The verb greatly disturbed suggests they are emotionally involved here. So since they could not disprove the resurrection, and they never tried to in Acts, in their frustration all they could do was only imprison these witnesses vs. 3. Since it was nearly evening and Jewish law did not permit trials at night, though this was ignored in Jesus’ case, they detained them overnight.
(2) The decision to believe the message 4. Imprisoning the messengers did not nullify the effect of the message. They could seize them but never imprison the Word of God. Even as they are arrested multitudes of people believe. 5000 is the cumulative number of men so far and this is the last mention of a specific number in Acts though the churches continued growth in cited in (5:14; 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 16:5; 19:20; 28:31). So, too, we may be removed from the scene (persecution, sickness, death or travel) yet if we have presented God’s Word and not our own that Word can continue to work and bear fruit. The influence of Jesus’ message upon these apostles is being passed onto others. It results in both belief and unbelief.
2. THE INFLUENCE OF THE HS GIVES US BOLDNESS IN OUR MINISTRY 5-12 The detailed description of the opposing Sanhedrin in vs. 5-7 underscores the pomp/power of this assembly. Simple fishermen were in midst of highest leaders in the land. These rulers were the Jewish supreme court, the Sanhedrin. Annas was Caiaphas’ father-in-law. Annas was High Priest from A.D. 6-15 and deposed but still a figurehead while Caiaphas was high priest from A.D. 18-36. This assembly had examined Jesus on trial and now ironically were facing 2 of Jesus’ prominent & bold followers. Nothing is known of the others mentioned. Their question in vs. 7 implied they had not been given authority to speak so where had it come from. Peter’s boldness beginning in vs. 8-12 stands in stark contrast to his previous denial. Here he could have failed again. The difference was that Peter was filled with the holy spirit vs. 8. All Xian ministry and witness depends on fullness of the HS. God’s does the filling as we yield to it by obedience and faith. We do not manufacture this we submit to it. The result is boldness not fear, silence or compromise vs. 9-12. First was a bold accusation, on trial…for a benefit to a sick man vs. 9. Certainly it could not be wrong to heal a lame man so he can walk again. Second was a bold explanation, by the name of Jesus Christ…whom God raised vs. 10. This is the reason the beggar stood before them in good health. Here is the contrast between what they had done with Jesus and what God had done with him. Third, was a bold argumentation, aitho they rejected Jesus, He became the very cornerstone vs. 11. Even tho Jesus did not fit their concept of Messiah Peter uses Psa 118:22 to support his message fulfilled the OT truth about Jesus. Jesus was the stone rejected by them and yet God made Him the very cornerstone thru resurrection. Again Peter places them in opposition to the very work and will of God they believe they were doing. Fourth, was a bold invitation, there is salvation in no one else…by which we must be saved vs. 12. Here is an invitation for them to repent and embrace Jesus Christ as Messiah. Here is the grace of God, acting toward these directly guilty of death of God’s Son. There is no evidence that any accepted this offer of salvation made to them. Deliverance only in Jesus. We preach an exclusive Christ in an inclusive age. Religious people can be the hardest to repent.
3. THE INFLUENCE OF JESUS IN OUR LIVES ASTONISHES PEOPLE 13-14 While the opposition was impressed with their confidence and amazed that uneducated and untrained men (authors of 7 books still in use today) could have such boldness and arguments, it dawned on them it was because they had been with Jesus, another who had not possessed credentials. They, too, had been boldly and fearlessly confronted by him (MT 7:28-29). He, too, had no formal rabbinic training (Jn 7:15-16). Yet He had no equal in handling the OT Scriptures (Jn 7:46). He had also performed miracles and his followers were on trail because of one. For the moment, this convincing defense was unanswerable 14.
(1) Opposition to God’s truth may also give us a priceless opportunity to present it. (2) God is able to take our weak points and transform them into strength for Him. While Peter here is a new man, in another sense it is the same Peter we knew before--quick to speak. Once a weakness now a strength. (3) God calls us to witness of Him but he has not molded, guided or dealt with any two exactly alike. Peter & John 30 yrs more.