Peter is trying to share with those in the temple, the Jews there, that Christ came to save them and that he will share his covenant with them. But they didn't want to hear what they were preaching. It threatened them and was counter to their own Jewish teachings, so they sent the Temple guard after them.
The Priests and the Sadducees thought they could stamp out what was being preached by Peter by putting them in jail, so they arrested them. We don't know what they planned on doing with them, just that they were going to deal with them in the morning.
The priests and Sadducees didn't get the result they had hoped for though. Even though Peter and John were put in jail, their message still hit people's hearts. We're not told if they preached while they were in jail, but I think it's a safe assumption that they did. If Peter couldn't help but heal the lame man, and he could help but use the captive audience in the temple, I can't imagine he would ignore those he was confined in jail with.
Much like Cody shared in his testimony earlier this morning, we can look at any situation and ask God how it can be used for him. Cody used prison as an opportunity to serve God and he stayed strong in his faith the entire time.
The scriptures tell us that people heard the message and believed, and now the number of those believed was about 5,000 men. I want to point out that in chapter 2, 3,000 souls were saved. That is something to be proud of. But after one act of Shalom, Peter was able to use that situation to draw people in and share who Christ is. 1 act of Shalom allowed him to offer Shalom to more and more people.
Now, as the Jewish Leaders try to squash what he is preaching, the gospel has grown to 5,000 men. That number is actually probably more like 15,000 souls. When scripture uses the word men, they only counted the men. Another example of this would have been when Jesus fed the 5,000. Most Bible scholars agree that it's safe to assume for every man, you can add 1 woman and 1 child on average, making the number here 15,000 souls.
What we take from this is that the more people tried to push against the Gospel, the more it thrived. Also, the more risks Peter took, the more successful he was. You might say, High Risk, High Reward.
Have you ever done anything for God or the Gospel of Jesus Christ that was truly a risk? Peter and John did in our passage this week. Take some time to think about their actions and how they stepped out in faith.
Re-Read Acts 3.
- How did God move through the lame man?
- What were the people witnessing?
Read Acts 4:1-2.
- Why do you think the people were disturbed that Peter and John were using this healing to talk with those present about Jesus and his resurrection?
- How would you have felt if you were the priests and Sadducees?
Read Acts 4:3-4.
- How would you have felt to be Peter and John, being put in jail for speaking the truth about Jesus?
- When have you felt you were socially punished for speaking the truth about Jesus?
Read Acts 4:5-7.
- Do you think you carry the Power of God in a way that shines as it did for Peter and John?
- When was the last time you witnessed someone ask through the power of Christ or in the name of Christ?
Read Acts 4:8-12.
- Could you be as bold as Peter was?
- Do you think you're filled with the Power of the Holy Spirit?
- How do you think you can go out this week and do deeds in the name of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit?
- How could you disrupt our social order with good actions?