Believers were devoting themselves to the Lord and more were being added every day.
Having Favor With All the People
This was an easy time where people were of one mind and joined themselves together devoting themselves to the Lord. In Acts 2:42 we see them “devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers”. And, in Acts 2:46 we see them “every day, devoting themselves to meeting* with one purpose in the temple courts* and breaking bread from house to house, they were eating their food with joy and simplicity of heart” and this purity, this joy, this simplicity, their time praising God had a result. In Acts 2:47 we see them “having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding every day to the total of those who were being saved”. The number of believers grew.
At The Hour of Prayer
We see the daily pattern, from the time the apostles came back to Jerusalem, they had been gathering in Acts 1:14 “with one mind” and as we just read in Acts 2:46 “with one purpose”. It was at the third hour (Acts 2:15), that the Holy Spirit had been poured out. It is important to remember that “The daily worship (in the temple) consisted of the offering of a burnt offering and incense in the morning and the afternoon; it was carried on by the priests, but there was always a congregation of people who stood where they could see the priests going about their duties and entering the sanctuary”.1
Morning and afternoon were the times when people gathered in the temple court and the apostles were gathering with others for prayer at these times. In Acts 3:1 (LEB) Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
The tradition, the cultural norm, was for the in-firmed to sit at the gate to the temple courts where they would ask for alms, for donations. They didn’t have any means of support other than the kindness and generosity of people going by. So, in Acts 3:2, we see a man “being carried” and in Acts 2:3 “he saw Peter and John” and asked …
Peter and John had walked this way before, twice a day for some time. And, Jesus also had walked this way and might have walked by this very man. He had been lame for forty years. Acts 2:2 says “he was placed every day at the gate”. On this day, in Acts 2:6 But Peter said, “Silver and gold ⌊I do not possess⌋, but what I have, this I give to you—in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!”
Why on this day? The Bible doesn’t say specifically. Was it that on this day, God suddenly wanted to heal this man? For me, on this day, this man asked, believing he would receive. In Matthew 8:13 (LEB) And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go, as you have believed it will be done for you.” And the slave was healed at that hour. And, Jesus said in Matthew 9:29 (LEB) Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be done for you.” But there is also Peters response, and I believe he now is moved by the Holy Spirit to respond. The way Jesus said it was in John 12:49-50 For I have not spoken from myself, but the Father himself who sent me ⌊has commanded me⌋ what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So the things that I say, just as the Father said to me, thus I say.”
The God of Our Fathers, Has Glorified His Servant Jesus
After being lame for forty years, this man was healed. It wasn’t Peter and John that had performed a miracle, as Peter says in Acts 3:13 (LEB) The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in the presence of Pilate, after he had decided to release him.* But, Peter doesn’t stop by only saying God glorified Jesus by doing a miracle. He hits these people hard with the rest of the story, in Acts 3:14-15 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One and demanded that a man—a murderer—be granted to you. 15 And you killed the originator of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses!
Every Soul Who Does Not Listen …
Peter is very strong with then and says in Acts 3:19–20 (LEB) Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be blotted out, 20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and he may send the Christ appointed for you—Jesus. Then he reminds them in Acts 3:25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God ordained with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring all the nations of the earth will be blessed.’ So the blessing of all the people on the earth begins with them. And Peter hits them hard again saying God sent Jesus to them first in Acts 3:26 God, after he* had raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning each of you back from your wickedness!” But they are hard hearted and stiff necked people as they were in 2 Kings 17:14 (LEB) But they did not listen and they stiffened their necks, like the necks of their ancestors who did not believe in Yahweh their God.
And While They Were Speaking
The leaders did not want to hear about Jesus or anything about the resurrection from the dead. This is because the Sadducees did not believe that the soul continued to exist after death or that people suffered punishments or received rewards after they died.2
What the Sadduccees and the priests believed really didn’t matter because in Acts 4:4 But many of those who listened to the message believed, and the number of the men was approximately five thousand. The Sadduccees, together with the priests and the captain of the temple did though, have the authority to place Peter and John in custody to hold them fr a hearing, which they did.
By What Name Did You Do This?
The leaders of the Jewish people all gather in Acts 4:5–6 (LEB) And it happened that on the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes came together in Jerusalem, 6 and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all those who were from the high priest’s family. And, vs 7 says “made them stand in their midst”. If there ever was an intimidating setup, this was it. No counsel, no others on their side, just Peter and John facing … well, all of them. Peters response speaks for itself in Acts 4:8-12 and it is good to read it. The main points are in vs 8 the salutation, vs 9 the question, are we being examined about this good deed? vs 10 the answer, by the name of Jesus who you crucified and God raised. vs 11 the indictment against them, rejected by you. and vs 12 the offer, salvation.
Peter left them speechless, they didn’t know how to answer. The evidence, the lame man that had been healed, was right in front of them.
We Are Not Able to Deny It
In Acts 4:15 “they began to confer”, and in 16 and in 17 and the best they could come up with was in Acts 4:18 And they called them back and* commanded them* not to speak or to teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and Johns response is well known, you might even say famous, in Acts 4:19-20 But Peter and John answered and* said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than God, you decide! 20 For we are not able to refrain from speaking about the things that we have seen and heard.”
In Acts 4:21 “after threatening them further, they released them, finding no way to punish them”. They could not deny the miracle, they could not quiet the people, they cold not stop Peter and John.
- Acts 3:11–18
- Acts 3:19–26
- Acts 4:5–14
- Acts 2:42-47
- Acts 3:1-26
- Acts 4:1-22
- 1. Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, p. 90). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- 2. Porton, G. G. (1992). Sadducees. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 5, p. 892). New York: Doubleday.