Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 3:23-4:7
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 3:23
v23: When Moses originally made this promise he reminded the people that forty years earlier, when they arrived at Mt. Sinai, they had asked God to communicate with them, through a human intermediary (Moses), because they were afraid to encounter Him directly (Ex 20:18-20; Dt 18:16). The Lord had accepted this request and then privately told Moses, “I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he will speak in My name, I myself will require it of him “ (Dt 18:18, 19). Peter actually replaced the statement “I Myself will require it of him” with more vivid wording drawn from Leviticus, “…shall be destroyed from among the people” (Lev 23:30), which probably means the person would cease to be a spiritual member of the congregation of Israel. That person would no longer be allowed to take part in the nation’s religious activities. By quoting this verse, Peter is warning the crowd that those who reject Jesus will be disfellowshipped from God. He’s making it plain that believing in Jesus and submitting to Him is not optional.

Monday: Acts 3:24-26
v24: He says these prophecies about the Messiah cannot be questioned, it is certain that they will come to pass. After all, one prophet declaring this truth about Messiah coming with such power would be enough to establish it as a valid promise, but in this case every prophet from Samuel (2Sa 7:12-16) onward declared it. Its scriptural support is overwhelming. vs25-26: Then Peter begins to expand the scope of those whom the Messiah will save. First, he assures the Jews listening to him that they held a privileged position. They are the “sons of the prophets” and descendants of the patriarchs with whom God made a covenant, so it’s only natural He would give them the first opportunity to hear the gospel (Mt 10:5; 15:24; Lk 14:15-24; Ac 13:46; Ro 1:16; 2:9, 10). But by quoting the Lord’s words to Abraham, “And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Ge 12:3; 22:18) Peter is telling them that the gospel would soon be carried to the Gentiles as well (Ac 1:8). Israel was being given the privilege of hearing it first, but the promise included “all the families of the earth.”

Tuesday: Acts 4:1
v1: At this point Peter and John were suddenly interrupted and placed under arrest. A group of priests arrived and brought with them the captain of the Levitical guard. Luke mentions that some of the officials were members of a sect called “Sadducees,” a group who specifically rejected the idea of a bodily resurrection (Mt 22:23; Ac 5:17; 23:8). The captain undoubtedly brought some members of the guard with him to make the arrest. These would have been some of the Levites who were assigned to guard the gates and courts of the temple. Ten men were stationed at each of twenty-four locations. It was their job to see that no “unclean” person entered beyond the Court of the Gentiles, and to police any disruptions. Four of the stations were located in the inner courts and priests and Levites were stationed there together.

Wednesday: Acts 4:1-2
v1 (continued): Two hundred forty Levites and thirty priests were on duty at all times. The night watch served all night, but the day was divided into four watches. The “captain of the guard” oversaw the Levites and regularly made his rounds of the stations to see that the guards were awake and properly performing their duties (Alfred Edersheim, The Temple, Eerdmans, reprinted 1988, pp 147, 148). The members of this guard were allowed to carry weapons (Lk 22:52; Mt 27:65). v2: Luke describes the emotional condition of the leaders who arrived by saying they were “worn out.” In other words, they had grown tired and angry because the apostles continually taught the people in the temple area and especially because they were announcing that Jesus was the one who would someday resurrect the dead (Jn 5:25-29).

Thursday: Acts 4:3-4
v3: And since it was growing late in the evening (Ac 3:1), they took hold of Peter and John and put them in a jail cell overnight, probably somewhere in the temple area. v4: In spite of such obvious disapproval by the nation’s religious leaders, many of those who were present believed. The number of men who considered themselves to be members of the church grew to a total of 5,000 (Ac 2:41). Since the church had been growing daily following Pentecost (Ac 2:47), the exact number who believed that evening can’t be determined; but it must have been large, probably somewhere between a thousand to two thousand people. When hearing this number we shouldn’t overlook the fact that, at this point, Luke is only reporting the men, so when believing women and children were added the actual number would be two or three times as large.

Friday: Acts 4:5-6
vs5-6: The next day a very elite group of religious leaders gathered. It included rulers (mostly Sadducees), elders, scribes (mostly Pharisees), the high priest (Annas), his son-in-law (Caiaphas) and two more of his relatives who are otherwise unknown (John and Alexander). At the time, Annas was not actually serving as the high priest (AD 6 to AD 15). He had been removed from office by the Romans, but since the people of Israel viewed the high priest’s office as one given by God for life, even though his title had been taken away, he was still thought of as high priest. Furthermore, over the years he arranged for five of his sons and his son-in-law (Caiaphas) to hold the position of high priest at one time or another (D.R. Hall on “Annas” in The New Bible Dictionary, Eerdmans, 1962, p39).

Saturday: Acts 4:7
v7: Peter and John, along with the lame man who had been healed, stood in the middle of a semi-circle of these leaders who were themselves seated. This was a formal inquiry. The miracle itself couldn’t be denied (v16), so the question was carefully worded to imply that the apostles may have drawn upon an ungodly source of power, such as a false god or witchcraft (Dt 13:1-5). They asked, “By what power or in what name did you do this?” The question has two parts to it. The first asks “what kind of power did you use?” And the second asks, “who sent you to do this?” To do something in someone’s “name” means you are acting in another person’s authority. You have been sent there. You are representing someone else, standing in their place as it were. The obvious answer to their question is “Who but God could do such a thing?” but they ignored this fact hoping to find some basis in their answer to accuse them of a religious crime.

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