Today Peter and John go to the temple and Peter heals a lame man, who lay each day at the gate of the temple. When the people see that the man is healed, they are filled with wonder and amazement.
Peter responds to the crowd asking why they marvel. He tells them that this man wasn’t healed by their power but by the power of Jesus Christ, the man they killed. Paul says, “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”
But the Jewish leaders aren’t too fond of this message, so they grab Peter and John and put them in custody. “However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.”
When Peter and John stand before the Jewish Council, Peter tells them that the lame man was healed by the power of Jesus Christ. He goes on to say, ”Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” However, the Jewish leaders do not want this message to spread among the people. Therefore they tell Peter and John not to teach anymore about Jesus Christ. But Peter and John respond saying, “we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
When Peter and John are released, they report back to their companions all that happened. Then they all pray – “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” This is when we meet Barnabas, Paul’s future missionary partner. He sells all of his land and gives the money to the apostles to distribute. Then we also meet Ananias and his wife Sapphira, who say they too sold all of their possessions to give to the church. However, they were lying to receive public glory from man and God knew it, as God knows all things. So instead of receiving respect from the church, they are rebuked by Peter and the Lord strikes them dead. The Lord is not going to allow anything to taint the purity of the newly formed church. “So great fear came upon the church and upon all who heard these things.”
The apostles continue doing many signs and wonders and the church continues to grow. “Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, ‘Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.’”
When the Jewish leaders find them in the temple, they question why they are teaching about Jesus Christ when they were told to stop. “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’”
The leaders now want to kill the apostles. So Gamaliel, a Pharisee, intervenes saying, “Keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”
Tomorrow the first disciple is martyred. Keep reading.
(Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:1-2:47)