Peter and John before the Sanhedrin.
1-12. the captain—of the Levitical
of the temple—annoyed at the
disturbance created around it.
and the Sadducees—who "say that there
is no resurrection" (Ac 23:8),
irritated at the apostles "preaching through (rather, 'in') Jesus the
resurrection from the dead"; for the resurrection of Christ, if a fact,
effectually overthrew the Sadducean doctrine.
4. the number of the men—or males,
exclusive of women; though the word sometimes includes both.
about five thousand—and this in
Jerusalem, where the means of detecting the imposture or crushing the
fanaticism, if such it had been, were within everyone's reach, and
where there was every inducement to sift it to the bottom.
5. their rulers, &c.—This was a
regular meeting of the Sanhedrim (see on Mt
6. Annas … and Caiaphas—(See on Lu 3:2).
John and Alexander—of whom nothing is
7. By what power or … name have ye done
this—thus admitting the reality of the miracle, which
afterwards they confess themselves unable to deny (Ac 4:16).
8. Then, filled with the Holy Ghost,
said—(See Mr 13:11; Lu 21:15).
10. Be it known unto you … and to all the
people of Israel—as if emitting a formal judicial testimony
to the entire nation through its rulers now convened.
by the name of Jesus, &c.—(See on
Ac 3:13, &c.).
even by him doth this man stand before you
whole—for from Ac 4:14 it
appears that the healed man was at that moment before their eyes.
11. This is the stone which was set at naught of
you builders, &c.—This application of Ps 118:22, already made by our Lord Himself before
some of the same "builders" (Mt 21:42),
is here repeated with peculiar propriety after the deed of rejection
had been consummated, and the rejected One had, by His exaltation to
the right hand of the Majesty on high, become "the head of the
12. Neither is there salvation in any other; for
there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must
be saved—How sublimely does the apostle, in these closing
words, shut up these rulers of Israel to Jesus for salvation, and in
what universal and emphatic terms does he hold up his Lord as the one
Hope of men!
13-17. perceived that they were unlearned and
ignorant men—that is, uninstructed in the learning of the
Jewish schools, and of the common sort; men in private life, untrained
took knowledge of them that they had been with
Jesus—recognized them as having been in His company;
remembering possibly, that they had seen them with Him [Meyer, Bloomfield,
Alford]; but, more probably, perceiving
in their whole bearing what identified them with Jesus: that is, "We
thought we had got rid of Him; but lo! He reappears in these men, and
all that troubled us in the Nazarene Himself has yet to be put down in
these His disciples." What a testimony to these primitive witnesses!
Would that the same could be said of their successors!
16. a notable miracle … done by them is
manifest to all … in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny
it—And why should ye wish to deny it, O ye rulers, but that
ye hate the light, and will not come to the light lest your deeds
should be reproved?
17. But that it spread no further … let us
threaten … that they speak henceforth to
no man in this name—Impotent device! Little knew they the
fire that was burning in the bones of those heroic disciples.
18-22. Whether it be right … to hearken to
you more than … God, judge ye.
20. For we cannot but speak the things which we
have seen and heard—There is here a wonderful union of sober,
respectful appeal to the better reason of their judges, and calm, deep
determination to abide the consequences of a constrained testimony,
which betokens a power above their own resting upon them, according to
21. finding nothing how they might punish them,
because of the people—not at a loss for a pretext, but at a
loss how to do it so as not to rouse the opposition of the people.
Ac 4:23-37. Peter and John
Dismissed from the Sanhedrin, Report the
Proceedings to the Assembled Disciples—They Engage in Prayer—The Astonishing Answer and Results.
23-30. being let go, they went to their own
company—Observe the two opposite classes, representing the
two interests which were about to come into deadly conflict.
24. they lifted up their voice—the
assembled disciples, on hearing Peter's report.
with one accord—the breasts of all
present echoing every word of this sublime prayer.
Lord—(See on Lu
2:29). Applied to God, the term expresses absolute authority.
God which hast made heaven and
earth—against whom, therefore, all creatures are
25. by the mouth of … David—to
whom the Jews ascribed the second Psalm, though anonymous; and internal
evidence confirms it. David's spirit sees with astonishment "the
heathen, the people, the kings and princes of the earth," in deadly
combination against the sway of Jehovah and His Anointed (his
Messiah, or Christ), and asks "why" it is. This fierce confederacy our
praying disciples see in full operation, in the "gathering together of
Herod and Pilate, the Gentiles (the Roman authority), and the people of
Israel, against God's holy Child ('Servant') Jesus." (See on Ac 3:13). The best ancient copies read, after "were
gathered together," "in this city," which probably answers to
"upon my holy hill of Zion," in the Ps 2:6.
28. thy hand and thy counsel determined … to
be done—that is, "Thy counsel" determined to be done by "Thy
29. now, Lord, behold their
threatenings—Recognizing in the threatenings of the Sanhedrim
a declaration of war by the combined powers of the world against their
infant cause, they seek not enthusiastically to hide from themselves
its critical position, but calmly ask the Lord of heaven and earth to
"look upon their threatenings."
that with all boldness they may speak thy
word—Rising above self, they ask only fearless courage to
testify for their Master, and divine attestation to their testimony by
miracles of healing, &c., in His name.
31-37. place was shaken—glorious token
of the commotion which the Gospel was to make (Ac 17:6; compare Ac 16:26), and the overthrow of all opposing
powers in which this was to issue.
they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and
spake, &c.—The Spirit rested upon the entire community,
first, in the very way they had asked, so that they "spake the word
with boldness" (Ac 4:29, 31); next, in melting down all selfishness,
and absorbing even the feeling of individuality in an intense and
glowing realization of Christian unity. The community of goods was but
an outward expression of this, and natural in such circumstances.
33. with great power—effect on men's
great grace was upon them all—The
grace of God copiously rested on the whole community.
35. laid … at the apostles'
feet—sitting, it may be, above the rest. But the expression
may be merely derived from that practice, and here meant
36. Joses, &c.—This is specified
merely as an eminent example of that spirit of generous sacrifice which
son of consolation—no doubt so
surnamed from the character of his ministry.
a Levite—who, though as a tribe having
no inheritance, might and did acquire property as individuals (De 18:8).
Cyprus—a well-known island in the