March 30, 2023 – Thursday
Acts 4:4 NIV
4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.
Let’s look at the preceding verses for context, 1 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. Key here is that the Sadducees were involved as they denied the immortality of the soul, thus the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
Nonetheless as our verse of the day tells us, 4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. The believers had grown to 3,000 on the day of the Pentecost and now to about 5,000! To say the Pharisees and Sadducees were concerned would be a great understatement. Their opposition to the Good News of the Risen Christ did nothing to reduce the impact of His message of Grace. In fact their opposition may have had the opposite impact as Peter and John continued spreading the Good News.
The next day, many powerful men including the high priest had Peter and John brought before them for questioning. They asked a question I’m sure they later wished they had not, 7 By what power or what name did you do this? Earlier the day before a man lame from birth, was begging and got the attention of Peter and John. Peter said, Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk. After helping him to stand the man’s feet and ankles became strong and he jumped for joy. This is what they were asking about.
Peter answered them as these verses attest to, 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is“‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ [quoting from Psalm 118:22] 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Of course the Sanhedrin did not know what to do as they knew both Peter and John were not schooled as priests were in their day and there stood the man who had been born lame and lived lame for 40 years. So they conferred privately. Afterwards, 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.But Peter and John shocked them with their reply, 19 Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.
Not knowing what to do with all the people praising them for healing the lame man, they let them go with more threats.
Bottom Line: Persecution cannot stop the growth of the church, the increase in the number of believers. Somehow it seems to always cause growth. Likely because of the courageous faith of the believers, even more come to the faith.
Prayer: Almighty God, With or without miracles today, we still turn to You and Your Son. We are so thankful for Your loving kindness and incredible patience. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton