Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

Witnesses to Me

To The End of the Earth!

- A Study In Acts -

Chapter Five – First Church Discipline, 2nd Arrest

ACTS 5:12-21:

At the conclusion of our previous lesson, we witnessed a unified reverent church (body of called out saints); having witnessed the power of God demonstrated by the Apostles of Christ Jesus. Ananias and Sapphira now take their place in the chronicles of illustrative examples – for them; a demonstration of the evil of purposing in your heart to lie to God (the definition of hypocrisy – to pretend to be something you are not)!

In this lesson, we will now see the events that will lead to the arrest of all the Apostles of Jesus Christ.

Text #1:

Acts 5:12-16 “And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. 13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. 14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

Apostles: Two things are important to notice in the power being demonstrated by the Apostles; first, is that they are the ones who have been given this power, and they alone. This identifies that it was they alone that received the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4), on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). They would at a later date begin to give spiritual gifts for the purpose of edification to mutual profit of the body (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). These gifts could only be distributed by the hands of the Apostles only (Acts 8:14-16).

Second, is that in the text, the established noun, which will in turn clarify the pronouns to come?

We will see three groups of importance in the text; ApostlesThey were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch”. Saints“Yet, none of the rest dared join them” (this was context specific to the miracles being performed by the hands of the Apostles while they were with one accord in the temple, not that Christians didn’t join them in the Lord). Outside“The people esteemed them (Apostles) highly” (these will constitute those who have yet to obey the Gospel’s call – Colossians 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; although some will in verse 14).  

Added to the Lord: This denotes the same process that has already been described, note:

Acts 2:47 “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. 

It is also a process that Paul would remind Christians concerning the active work of baptism adding them to the body of Christ as an act of faith, note:

Galatians 3:26-27 “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

Peter’s Shadow: As a continued demonstration of the power behind the word being preached, the Apostles healed many.

Mark 16:20 “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.”

Luke will record the actions of Peter to Theophilus, concerning the unique expectation of those who brought the sick in hopes that Peter’s shadow would touch them. All the miracles recorded in scripture were unique and recognizable as only the prevue of God; however, later Luke would record that God would work “special miracles”Acts 19:11. This pointed out that it was something even abnormal for the unique miracles of God. Along with the handkerchiefs of Paul (Acts 19:11-12), the hem of the garment of Jesus (Mark 6:56); now Peter’s shadow, they would all fall easily into this category of “special”.

Text #2:

Acts 5:17-21 “Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. 19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.”

High Priest + Sadducees: It was the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees who were responsible for the arrest of Peter and John earlier, because of their teaching of the resurrection of Jesus the Christ (Acts 4:1-2). Their hatred for the teaching of the Apostles concerning the resurrection caused them to lay hands on them before; now consider their outrage towards them for not only still preaching the same message, but completely ignoring the warning that had been issued to them. Now circle the word “Indignation”, and make a note stating that it is pure envy (jealousy motivated to act against).  

All the Words of this Life: We know that these are not random words, as we will see that the Apostles will be in the temple in the morning and “taught”. “Taught” denotes structure that requires discernment from the hearers –

James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Later, when Peter would have the opportunity to speak to the household of Cornelius (a Roman Centurion and uncircumcised Gentile); Cornelius would make an acknowledgment concerning what it was they were assembled to hear, not:

Acts 10:33 “So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.””

In all of this we learn that the instruction of the Angel of God to the Apostles did not include random words, but specific words concerning the commands of God through them, necessary for them in this life! This is the same Gospel message from the beginning, which always concludes with the command to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

Council + Elders: This is a unique reference to the Sanhedrin council, with the added mention of “elders of the children of Israel”. It is unknown if this is a regional assembly of elders from the outer provinces, or some other group such as a senate of some kind, assembled with the Sanhedrin council. What we can gather from the context is that it is a complete assembly of the leaders of the people 

Sanhedrin: The term is rendered from the Greek word meaning, ‘council’. According to the Talmud, it is improperly developed from the elders that were given to Moses (Numbers 11:16), to assist him in governing the children of Israel as they journey from Egypt. Others think that it was a derivative of the great synagogue of Ezra’s time. The truth is that historically, it true origin is unknown! There is no definitive historical reference to this council before the Greek period.

The council was made up of seventy elders, plus the High Priest. These elders were selected from chief priests, scribes, elders, all being from one of these groups, Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:21; 26:57; 27:41; Acts 4:5-6; 23:1-6).

Next: “On Trial Again!”