God’s Word for You
Acts 4:18-22 we cannot stop speaking
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, September 27, 2019
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to teach or make any sound at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s eyes to obey you and not God, 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
At a loss as to how to contradict a well-known fact, since more than five hundred witnesses had seen Jesus after his resurrection and the grave in which he was buried still lay empty, they tried to silence Peter and John. “Don’t utter a sound,” they said. The verb phthengomai (φθέγγoμαι) means to make any noise at all, such as a door creaking (Aristophanes) or a fawn’s soft bleat for its mother (Xenophon). The Apostles responded that this would be impossible. “It’s what we have seen and heard,” they say. They had to testify about what God had done. God commanded his prophets: “You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen” (Ezekiel 2:7). Even the false prophet Balaam, overcome by the Holy Spirit, confessed: “Can I say just anything? I must speak only what God puts in my mouth” (Numbers 22:38).
21 After they threatened them further they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was healed miraculously was over forty years old.
Peter and John were not punished or whipped at this time; only threatened. This is explained by Luke that too many people were excited about the miracle, and it would be disastrous for the Sanhedrin to punish these men for healing the crippled man. More than this, the man was over forty; he had not simply healed up due to youthful vigor.
The Sanhedrin tried to put fear into the hearts of Peter and John, but they were the ones who were afraid. If the people knew that they opposed the apostles of Jesus the result would be that the people would all choose Jesus over the Sanhedrin. The Council felt their religion crumbling, and they didn’t know what to do about it. There is never any reference to the Sanhedrin praying about what to do, or seeking guidance from the Scriptures. Even when they attacked Jesus by trying to apply Moses, he would show them how they had missed the point (Mark 10:4-9).
What is the purpose of miracles? Miracles display God’s power and glory (Luke 2:14). Miracles sometimes provide the means by which God provides for his people (1 Kings 17:14), but more often miracles are a way God uses to show his stamp of approval on the message being preached. Elijah said: “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). All four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal were executed that day after the Lord set Elijah’s altar on fire. Besides healing for this one man, this was also the reason for the miracle here at the temple gate. It gave Peter and John the opportunity to show that their message was God’s true message: Forgiveness, resurrection, and eternal life through Jesus.
Pastor Timothy Smith