ACTS CHAPTER 4
Acts 4:1-4 "And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the
captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2 Being
grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection
from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in
hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. 4 Howbeit many
of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about
A. "And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the
captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them"
1. It is obvious from this passage that Peter was still in
the midst of his sermon when he and John were arrested by the temple police.
B. “Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached
through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.”
1. It is also obvious that the Sadducees controlled the temple
and the security forces. The Sadducees were primarily the priests who worked
at the temple. They were not nearly as popular as the Pharisees, who were
among the people in the Synogogues, but were more powereful, owing their
power to the temple, its taxes, and the Roman authority.
2. Why were they so angry?
a. Peter and John were teaching the resurrection of the dead.
b. One of the keystones of Sadducee doctrine was a denial of
the resurrection of the dead. They also did not believe in angels.
c. The Pharisees, on the other hand, were convinced in the
truth of the resurrection and was often at odds with the Sadducees over
it. Paul used that division to help deliver him when brought before the
Sanhedrin. See Acts 23:6-9.
C. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold
unto the next day: for it was now eventide.
1. The event of the day had started at 3:00 p.m. and must have
continued for some time.
2. It was not accepted procedure for the Sanhedrin to meet
at evening. This shows the exceptional nature of Jesus’ trial and death.
The priest were so desperate to get rid of Jesus that they took extrodinary
steps to kill him.
3. Peter and John remained in custody until the next day.
D. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and
the number of the men was about five thousand."
1. The preaching of the word had its desired effect. We not
told how man persons were baptized into Christ on this day, but it must
have been substancial.
2. It is likely that Luke is referring to the number of men
who were members of the church at Jerusalem.
3. Since the church began with 3,000 Christians (men, women,
and children) the 5,000 men must be given to emphasize the growth on the
E. Some comments on the phrase “heard the word believed.”
1. Some falsely believe that this shows that they became Christians
simply by faith alone, without any obedience.
2. The passage also does not mention that these people repented.
Does this mean that they were saved without any repentance of past sins.
Acts 4:5-10 "And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and
elders, and scribes, 6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John,
and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were
gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst,
they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
3. Actually this is a figure of speech called synecdoche, where
the part stands for the whole. Used extensively in the New Testament when
it comes to salvation.
A. “And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and
elders, and scribes........
1. The mighty Sanhedrin met the next day to hear the case against
Peter and John.
2. It consisted of two major parties - the Sadducees and Pharisees.
3. Both Annas and Caiaphas were spoken of in the New Testament
as being the High Priest.
a. Annas was the real High Priest, but was deposed by the Romans
and replaced by his son Caiaphas.
4. John and Alexander
a. John was probably one of Annas’ sons who held the high priesthood
at one point.
b. Alexander was possibly a rich Jew who gave expensive gifts
to the temple.
5. There were also a number of the relatives of Annas present,
likely in addition to the Sanhedrin
B. “By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?”
1. The this spoken of here is likely the miracle, followed
by the preaching about the resurrection of the dead.
2. The Sanhedrin wanted to know the authority for their actions
3. What the Sanhedrin was basicily want to do was accuse the
Apostles of not having the authority of the Sanhedrin for preaching, thus
being guilty of rebellion against the lawful leaders of the nation.
Acts 4:8-10 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them,
Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9 If we this day be examined
of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the
name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from
the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole."
4. With Jesus having been murdered just a short time earlier
this was not an idle threat to the apostles.
A. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost”
1. Peter was not going to have to rely on only his own guidance
in such a diffiuclt situation.
2. The Holy Spirit would guide his words.
3. The Spirit’s guidance in such situations was promised to
the apostles by our Lord.
4. See Matthew 10:17-20
B. “Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9 If we
this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what
means he is made whole”
1. It is important that note that God will open door of opportunity
to His people to preach the gospel. If Peter had requested the opportunity
to speak to the grand Sanhedrin he would have most assuridly been refused.
But now he will have the opportunity to preach Chrsit to them.
2. Peter does not begin with a defense of his teaching, but
at the point of the validation of the teaching- the miracle of the healing
of the lame man.
3. It was this miracle that probably kept the Sanhedrin from
killing the apostles. They could not deny that a great miracle had taken
place. See verse 16.
C. “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel,
that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God
raised from the dead"
1. Peter declares the authority for his preaching. It was the
one who was responsible for the healing of the lame man.
2. Jesus made it clear that His works were a powerful testimony
for his authority.
a. John 14:11 - "Believe me that I am in the Father,
and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake."
3. Peter again returns to the very point that had made the
Sadducees so angry. They had been responsible for the murder of Jesus,
but that the Father had raised him from the dead.
D. "even by him doth this man stand here before you whole."
1. This tells us that the man had been brought before the Sanhedrin
also for examination. Likely they were want to ascertain the details of
the miracle and to check its authenticity.
2. Also notice the wording that Peter used.
a. KJV used the phrase “by him” to suggest the source of the
Verse 11- "This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders,
which is become the head of the corner.
b. ASV used the phrase “in him” to suggest the fact that the
man had become a Chrstian since his healing.
A. “This is the stone....”
1. Found in Isaiah 28:16- "Therefore thus saith the
Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone,
a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall
not make haste."
B. An understanding of what Peter was saying.
1. The stone, of course, was Jesus.
a. See Ephesians 2:20
2. The builders was the leaders of the nation.
3. They had rejected him, and had cast him aside as a useless
a. See Psalm 118:22
b. Used by the Lord in Matthew 21:42
4. But God had made the rejected stone the primary one.
Verse 12- "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there
is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
a. The head stone was the most important one, the one which
all the others were aligned and rested on.
A. “Neither is there salvation in any other......
1. This excluded all other person, including Moses and the
2. The phrase “in any other” is synonmous with being “in Christ.”
3. See Romans 3:24; 8:1; 1 Corintians 15:22; 2 Corinthians
5:17; Ephesians 1:3, 7
B. “for there is none other name under heaven give among men,
whereby we must be saved”
1. Peter is telling the Sanhedrin that the only way for them
to be pleasing to God is to enter into a relationship to Him through Jesus
Christ, the very one that they were responsible for crucifying.
RECAPPING THE MAIN POINTS OF PETER’S SERMON
2. See John 14:6
1. That it was by the authority that the lame man had been
2. That the Sanhedrin was responsible for the crucifixion of
3. God had raised Jesus from the dead.
4. Christ is the stone they had rejected.
5. Jesus is “become the head of the corner.”
6. There is no salvation in any other except Christ.
Verse 13 - “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John,
and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled;
and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
A. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John”
1. They were bold in that they did not hesitate to preach the
gospel ot even such a high assembly as the one they were with.”
2. See Philippians 1:20;
B. “and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men”
1. This did not mean that the apostles were stupid of had a
lack of intelligence.
2. It meant that they were unschooled in the scholarship of
the Scribes and Pharisees.
C. “they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they
had been with Jesus”
1. They saw that they had the same spirit as the one whom the
had crucified shortly before.
Verses 14-17 And beholding the man which was healed standing
with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But when they had
commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable
miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell
in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. 17 But that it spread no further
among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth
to no man in this name.
2. This is the extent of the Sanhedrin’s hardness of heart.
By marvelling at Peter and John, they surely knew in their hearts that
they were right, but would not accept the one whom they had executed.
A. "And beholding the man which was healed standing with them,
they could say nothing against it"
1. It was obvious that the lame man, whom was know to all,
had been healed completely of his sickness. He was “standing.”
2. They were in a delima. If they publicly punished these men
it would show that they working against the power of God. Everyone in Jerusalem
was convinced of the validity of the miracle.
3. What they said among themselves, and what they further said
to Peter and John, showed that they were guilt of gross hypocrisy.
B. “But that it spread no further among the people, let us
straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.”
1. They decided that if they privately threaten Peter and John
they would probably refrain from preaching Christ out of fear.
2. Their main interest in threatening them was to keep the
new doctrine from spreading among the populace and destroying their control
a. Sadduceeism was as religion of secularism, without any dependance
on the afterlife or spiritual world. A belief in the resurrection insured
that the people would look to God, rather than look to them.
Verses 18-20 “And they called them, and commanded them not to speak
at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and
said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto
you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things
which we have seen and heard.”
3. It is likely, given to the most of the apostles cowardice
during the trial and death of Jesus, that the Sanhedrin thought that it
would be an easy matter to scare Peter and John.
A. “And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at
all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”
1. The original language suggests that the Sanhedrin commanded
Peter and John, to not let the name of Jesus pass from their lips again.
B. “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto
you more than unto God, judge ye...”
1. This is an example of a rhetorical question, one that need
no answer because the answer was obvious. The Sanhedrin knew that a man’s
first obligation was to obey God that them!
2. See Acts 5:39
Verses 21-22 “So when they had further threatened them, they let them
go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people:
for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above
forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was showed."
3. See Matthew 10:28
A. “So when they had further threatened them....”
1. They sought to reinforce their threats with some further
2. There was no charge that the Sanhedrin could use to punish
Peter and John.
B. “because of the people: for all men glorified God for that
which was done."
1. It was obvious to the public at large that this great wonder,
and others like it, were from God and that the one’s doing them were sent
2. Thus the Sanhedrin was helpless, without some excuse, to
move against the apostles.
C. “For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle
of healing was showed."
1. This fact, when combined with the truth that the man had
been crippled from birth shows why the Sanhedrin could not deny the miracle,
though they sorely wanted to.
Acts 4:23-28 "And being let go, they went to their own company, and
reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. 24
when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord,
and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth,
and the sea, and all that in them is: 25 Who by the mouth of thy
servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine
vain things? 26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers
were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27
of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both
Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel,
were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy
counsel determined before to be done."
2. For 40 years men and women saw this man as a cripple.
A. “And being let go.....”
1. Peter and John returned to report to the other apostles
and other concerned brethren, concerning all that had take place.
2. Notice that they were not puffed up with self-importance
because they had just humbled the foe. Neither had they been discouraged
when they had been threantened. They kept the same attitude, whether in
triumph and trial.
3. See Philippians 4:11-13
B. “And when they heard that they lifted up their voice to
1. They prayed to the Lord for strength and boldness.
2. See Psalm 2:1-2
a. David speaks of Jesus typically. It is certain that David
refers to his own situation here, but Peter uses it to refer to Jesus.
C. “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus.....
1. They refer to the Jesus who entered the world as a child
2. Here were those who were guilty of Jesus’ death.
a. Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles (Romans), and the people
b. All played a part in the murder of Jesus.
D. “For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined
before to be done”
1. While those involved worked together for various reasons
plan and execute Jesus, it must be remembered that God had planned Jesus
as a sacrifice for mankind long before anyone knew about him.
Acts 4:29-30 "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto
thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30 By
stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be
done by the name of thy holy child Jesus."
2. This gives the principle of providence, that God is working
through situations and events to do his will. No mortal could have seen
in the events that took place in the life of Jesus that it proceed according
to exactly what God wanted.
A. “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings.......”
1. See 2 Kings 19:14ff where Hezekiah spread the insulting
letter of Sennacherib before the the Lord in the temple.
B. “grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may
speak thy word”
1. They did not pray for revenge on their enemies.
2. They didn’t even pray for deliverance from their enemies.
3. They prayed for boldness to preach the truth.
a. Comes from the greek word, “ parrhesia, all out-spokenness,
i.e. frankness, bluntness, publicity; by impl. assurance:--bold (X -ly,
-ness, -ness of speech), confidence, X freely, X openly, X plainly (-ness).
C. “By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that
signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus."
1. The apostles were asking God to validate their message with
further miracles, signs, ans wonders.
Acts 4:31 "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they
were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,
and they spake the word of God with boldness."
2. These miracles would enable to speak boldly before others.
This showed conclusively that the power was not from them but God.
A. "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they
were assembled together”
1. God showed his approval of their prayer by miraculous means.
2. The house they were assembled in shook.
3. This was a sign to the apostles and the others assembled
B. “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake
the word of God with boldness."
1. This was not another outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as witnessed
by Pentecost, but the Spirit working with them directly, to answer their
2. Under the influence of the Spirit - didn’t shout, dance,
or speak in an unknown tongue.
Acts 4:32-35 "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart
and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things
which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33 And
with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord
Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34 Neither was there any
among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses
sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35 And
laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made
unto every man according as he had need."
3. Spoke the word with boldness.
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