In Acts 4:1-4, the Apostle Paul’s friend and physician, Luke, says this:
“And as they spake unto the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, being [greatly] troubled because they taught the people, and proclaimed in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in [jail] unto the [next day]: for it was now [evening]. But many of them that heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.”
In this passage, Luke records the temple staff’s reaction to the Apostles Peter and John’s preaching, and the reaction of the men of Jerusalem to their preaching. It may be divided into 4 main topics:
- The Temple Staff’s Disturbance from the Apostles’ Preaching
- The Temple Staff’s Detainment of the Apostles to Prison
- The Temple Sermon’s Divine Act of Persuasion
- The Total Souls Determined to be in the Assembly
In verses 1-2, Luke describes the temple staff’s disturbance from the Apostles’ preaching. He does so by saying that, as Peter and John were speaking to the people of Jerusalem at the temple of Jerusalem, the priests of the temple, the captain of the temple police force, and the Sadducees, a group of theologically liberal Jews, came to them because they were greatly disturbed due to the facts that the Apostles were:
- teaching the people, and
- proclaiming the bodily resurrection of the dead by proclaiming that Jesus rose bodily from the dead.
It may be inferred that the priests were greatly disturbed particularly because the Apostles were teaching that Jesus was the only Mediator between God and man, marking the end of their office. With regard to the captain of the temple police force, it may be inferred that they he was greatly disturbed particularly because the Apostles were teaching that Jesus was the Supreme King that was the rightful King over all the Jewish rulers, including him. With respect to the Sadducees, it may be inferred that they were greatly disturbed particularly because the Apostles were teaching that Jesus was the Supreme Prophet who was greater than the prophet Moses, whom they respected more than any other prophet in the Old Testament, only believing that the books written by him — the first 5 books of the Bible — were Scripture, and also because they did not believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead, which the Apostles were proclaiming by teaching about Jesus’s bodily resurrection.
In verse 3, Luke records the temple staff’s detainment of the Apostles to prison. After they came to them, they laid hands on them, or arrested them, and put them in jail, so they could prosecute them in court on the following day, since it was evening. According to their law, they were forbidden to hold a trial during the evening, so they imprisoned them for the night.
In the first part of verse 4, Luke describes the temple sermon’s divine act of persuasion. Although the Apostles were arrested and thrown in jail, he implies, many of those who had heard their message believed it. But what was the message? Mainly, it consisted of an assertion that Jesus was the One who had used His authority to heal the former crippled beggar through Peter, based on the beggar’s faith in Him, an exhortation to acknowledge that Jesus was the Supreme Prophet, Priest, and King, and equal in essence or nature with God, and an assertion that Jesus had bodily risen from the dead. Why did many of the people of Jerusalem believe the truth claims of this message? Because the Father gave them the faith to believe through the authority of His Son, and by the power of His Spirit exercised through the teaching of the good news of Christ’s identity, death for sins, and bodily resurrection from the dead.
Finally, in the last part of verse, Luke numbers the total souls that were determined to be assembled into the church of Jerusalem. Because many of those who had heard Peter and John’s message believed it, he implies, the number of men in the Jerusalem church body came to be about 5,000.
So, do you teach people and proclaim in Jesus the resurrection from the dead?
Do you believe the message of God the Son becoming a man without ceasing to be God, the Lord Jesus Christ, dying to satisfy God the Father for our sins, bodily rising from the dead, and promising to forgive all the sins of whoever will change the way they think about themselves and Him, and depend only upon Him and this message for His forgiveness and eternal life?
Are you a family member of a local church of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Do you understand why you need to believe the message about the Lord Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul wrote about it this way:
“. . . I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-9
This is what the Apostle John said about the gospel in John 1:1-18:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. John beareth witness of him, and crieth, saying, This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me. For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
This is what Christ Himself said about the gospel:
“. . . God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:16-20
John the Baptist said this: “. . . he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on [stays directed toward] him.” – John 3:36
The Apostle Paul said this in Romans 2:4-16 and 1:18-32:
“. . . despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ.”
“. . . the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousnessof men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.”
Speaking of those that practice sin, the Apostle Paul uses this quote:
“. . . There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one: Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness . . .” – Romans 3:10-14
This is my appeal to you, as written by the Apostle Paul:
“. . . we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21
This is how you become reconciled to God:
“. . . if thou shalt confess [acknowledge] with thy mouth Jesus as Lord [Greek: kurios, or Supreme in Authority], and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him [depend upon Him]: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [who He is, what He has done, and what He can do] shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13