God’s Word for You
Acts 4:1-4 They arrested Peter and John
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, September 20, 2019
4 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, 2 very disturbed that the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming the resurrection from the dead in Jesus. 3 They arrested Peter and John and put them in custody until the next day since it was already evening. 4 But many who heard the message believed; and the number of the men grew to about five thousand.
The captain of the temple guard was an important person. He was responsible for keeping the peace and maintaining order in the temple. Second in importance only to the high priest, he was from the same family and would have been a Sadducee. In this case, he was probably concerned that the large group might cause an incident. The others (priests and Sadducees) had a theological concern. Peter and John were preaching Christ crucified and risen from the dead, and the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection along with many other things (we will examine their beliefs more along with Acts 23:8).
The temple leadership wanted to stop Peter and John from drawing anyone away from Judaism, “but” (Greek de, δὲ), “many believed.” The advance of the gospel was such that already at this point, Luke stops trying to present complete numbers. At Pentecost, three thousand people had been added to the number of Christians. Now, Luke stops counting people and estimates the number of males to have grown to about five thousand. That suggests an overall Christian population of more than twenty thousand.
The task of the Holy Spirit is to gather the Holy Christian Church. The Spirit accomplished that task in the same way he still does it among us: through the preaching of the gospel of forgiveness through Jesus. We call the church “holy” because Christ made it holy with his blood: “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of water through the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26). We call the church “Christian” because it is founded on Christ and everyone who is part of it believes in Christ. “No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). Only God truly knows those who have faith in him; who are the members of his holy Christian church. As only the Lord knew the seven thousand believers in Elijah’s day, so it is now (Romans 11:2-5). “The Lord knows those who are his” (2 Timothy 2:19). Most importantly of all, the Lord knows that you are his. He knows your faith.
Pastor Timothy Smith