If you missed my first What I’m Learning in the Bible post I am sharing what I am learning as our church studies through the book of Acts together over the next few months. I’m a little behind in blogging about my Acts studies but I have been keeping up with my readings. So really, this is my thoughts on last week’s reading.
As a reminder, I am using this ESV Acts Study journal. Basically it has scripture on one page and then a blank lined page next to it for taking notes.
So after healing the beggar and speaking in Solomon’s Portico Peter and John are dragged in front of the Council of priests and scribes. Their main question is by what power Peter and John had healed the man. Peter makes it clear to them even though he knows that it’s an answer that will upset them. “Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead- by him this man is standing before you well” (v. 10). I love that he explains that healing (both physically for this man (v. 10) and spiritually for all (v. 12)) is through Jesus alone.
I just love the answer that Peter and John give after they are threatened not to speak in the name of Jesus- “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard (v. 20).
After bring threatened and then released I love that we see the believer’s response- they pray. They pray for boldness. They didn’t pray for safety or comfort, they prayed for boldness to continue to proclaim the name of Jesus. I love that that is their first response! And they continue working together to build the early church.
Oh, Ananias and Sapphira, what a story. It’s not that they kept some money back for themselves that was the issue but rather that they lied about it.
I found chapter 5 verse 17 interesting. The apostles get arrested because the high priests and Sadducees are jealous. They get upset about the apostles’ teaching not because they actually think it’s wrong, but because they are jealous of their popularity and sway over the people.
Gamaliel is always such a striking character to me. He’s described as a teacher of the law and held in honor by all people (v. 34). He urges them to let the apostles be. “…For if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (v. 38-39).
It’s also interesting to note that later in Acts it mentions that Saul (later Paul) sat under his teachings (Acts 22:3) and yet his restraint and tolerance is in such contrast to Saul’s ravaging of the church).
Chapter 6 begins with describing how the church continued to grow. I found it interesting how it mentions that “a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith” (v. 7). Despite the chief priests and many of the Jewish leaders being so opposed to the apostles, they believed.
Have any thoughts to share? I would love to hear them in the comments below!