Jewish opposition to the preaching of the Gospel
And as they spoke to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 being greatly annoyed because they taught the people, and proclaimed in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they arrested them and jailed them until the next day; for it was now evening. 4 But many of those that heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
5 And it came to pass that the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6 and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander and as many as were of the family of the high priest. 7 And when they had set them in their midst, they enquired: By what power, or in what name, have you done this? 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: You rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, in him does this man stand here before you healed. 11 He is the stone that was rejected by you the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And in no other is there salvation; for neither is there any other name that is given among men under heaven, wherein we must be saved.
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they realised that they had been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man that was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they took advice with one another, saying: 16 What shall we do to these men? For indeed a notable miracle has been done through them. It is obvious to all that dwell in Jerusalem and we cannot deny it! 17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us warn them, that from this time forward they are not to speak to anyone in this name. 18 And they called them, and ordered them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John answered and said to them: Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; 20 for we cannot but speak the things which we saw and heard.
21 And they, when they had threatened them further, let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people. For all men glorified God for what was done. 22 For the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing was done.
23 And being let go, they came to their friends, and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And they, when they heard it, lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said: O Lord, you that made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that are in them, 25 who by the Holy Spirit, and by the mouth of our father David your servant, did say: Why did the Gentiles rage and the peoples imagine vain things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ. 27 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your counsel foreordained to happen. 29 And now Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to your servants to speak Your word with all boldness, 30 while You stretch out Your hand to heal, that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy child Jesus.
31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit; and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
Powerful preaching by the apostles
32 And the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and not one of them said that anything of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 For neither were there among them any that lacked; for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles' feet; and distribution was made to each, according to anyone's need.
36 And Joseph, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas (we say Son of exhortation), a Levite, a man of Cyprus by race, 37 having a field, sold it; and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.
4:12 Non-Christian religions therefore cannot be a way to salvation. We can be saved only “in” that name... “wherein” we shall be saved. This only becomes possible if we are baptized into Christ, in His Name.
4:13 Unlearned- Greek ‘a-grammatos’, ‘without grammar’; Ignorant- Greek ‘idiotes’. The early preachers and leaders of the church appeared as idiots, as men without even basic education. But God used their witness to confound the mighty of this world. Erudition and education aren’t qualifications for preaching the Gospel; we should never feel we’re not good enough, but just do what we can and let ourselves be used by God.
4:16 Even the enemies of Christianity couldn’t deny that the miracles done by the Holy Spirit were indeed real. Modern claims to possessing Holy Spirit gifts are debatable; whilst God hears prayer, the miraculous gifts of the Spirit aren’t available today. What is claimed to have been done by Pentecostals simply doesn’t compare with the usage of the miraculous Spirit gifts in the first century.
4:19 We must be obedient to state laws, until such time as they contradict the law of God and of Jesus. This is especially true of military service.
4:30 Your holy servant- Jesus after His resurrection and ascension to Heaven is still God’s servant and therefore less than God (Jn. 13:16).
4:31 The Holy Spirit refers to God’s power set apart for specific purposes. God gave it to people to do specific things- they were ‘filled’- but then had to be filled again to do other tasks and fulfil other purposes.
4:37 Levites weren’t supposed to own property, according to the Law of Moses. But they ‘got around’ this by owning property outside Israel, e.g. in Cyprus. But when Barnabas converted to Christ, he realized that all such ‘getting around’ God’s laws is wrong; simple, loving obedience from the heart is what God wants.