21 April 2015Acts 4:1-12
“There is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” (v. 12)
Psalm: Psalm 141:1-5
Today's passage carries on from yesterday. Such was the stir caused by Peter and John that the Temple authorities arrived on the scene to see what was going on. The Temple had its own police force, the Temple Guard. The captain of this force would want to make sure that a riot wasn't about to break out.
The high priest, priests and captain of the Temple Guard came from one of the high-priestly families belonging to the group known as the Sadducees. They were a very powerful group. They did not believe in bodily resurrection and so would have objected to Peter's teaching, as well as the fact that he was teaching at all.
The Sadducees collaborated with the Romans and so were able to keep their power. Consequently they were keen to keep the status quo which worked so well for them.
The miracle, and Peter's preaching, convinced many to become believers and so the two disciples were arrested and jailed (verses 1-4).
In the morning they were questioned by the main Jewish Council, this was also dominated by the Sadducees but included other groups too. The Council didn't attempt to deny the miracle itself, what they wanted to know was by "what name" (v. 7) the miracle had been performed, that is 'by whose authority'. Their interest is in the power that Peter and John appeared to have - and which may threaten their own power.
Filled by the Holy Spirit, Peter seized the opportunity to witness to them about Jesus, despite their hostility.
Peter quotes from Psalm 118:22, saying that Jesus is the cornerstone. Peter meant that God had sent his chosen one, Jesus, as he had promised in the Hebrew Scriptures, but that they had failed to recognise him and had put him to death. Yet this had not been the end because God had raised Jesus from the dead and through his name, and faith in his name, people can be healed. The healing, or saving, is both physical and spiritual.
- Many Christians are in prison today, and many others are at risk of imprisonment, for sharing their faith. How can you show support to yur sisters and brothers in these situations?
- When you look to God for healing to what extent are you always looking for both physical healing and spiritual healing?
- How do you cope when God does not heal someone or a situation in the way that you wanted? How does this impact your faith?
Bible notes' author: The Revd Ros Watson