August 5 - Suffering as Witnesses (Acts 4:1-22)
Prepare for Sunday morning worship using the guide below.
Levi Regalado will continue teaching Encounters with Christ in the youth room. This study considers the interactions that Jesus has with different individuals throughout the four gospels.
Nik Lingle and Phillip Taylor will continue teaching through the book of Revelation in the Adult 1 classroom.
4:1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
5 On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, 6 with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 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. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge,20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.
In this passage we see the first hint of opposition to the preaching of the apostles. The first three chapters of Acts portray the explosive growth of the church, the positive reception of the gospel among the crowds. They were "having favor with all the people" (2:47). But in chapter 4, the gathering storm of persecution comes into view. The religious authorities are greatly annoyed with Peter and John, arrest them and put them in custody, then question and threaten them. Yet on the whole, we see Peter and John maintaining a posture of bold and effective witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus despite the opposition and threats of the religious establishment.
Review and Apply
What does it mean to be a witness? When was the last time you witnessed to a non-christian about the reality of Jesus in your life?
Peter declares the exclusivity of salvation in Christ alone, "There is salvation in no one else." Have you ever had a conversation with a non-Christian where they object to the exclusivity of Christian teaching? What do you think is the best way to respond to this?
How can you actively prioritize obedience to God over fear of man in regards to speaking of Jesus to non-Christians this week?
How can you support gospel workers who are being actively persecuted or threatened for their work in advancing the gospel?