Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 4:8-14
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 4:8
v8: Peter is about to answer their questions, but before he does, Luke wants us to know that the Holy Spirit Himself is the source of the words Peter will speak. He says he was “filled with the Holy Spirit,” and that term might confuse us if we mistakenly think of this filling with the Spirit as the same miracle that happened to him at Pentecost (Ac 2:4). In the upper room he, and those who were with him, “were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues….” At that moment Peter received, what Jesus called, the “promise of the Father” (Ac 1:4). They had been told to wait in Jerusalem until they were “baptized in the Holy Spirit” (Ac 1:5). During His ministry Jesus repeatedly spoke about a special encounter with the Holy Spirit in which He would indwell each of them, empowering them for holiness and service.

Monday: Acts 4:8
v8 (continued): What is happening to Peter here, in his moment of need, is not another baptism as if this indwelling of the Spirit had left him, but rather a fresh move of the Spirit to strengthen him for the task at hand. It would soon become apparent to all those who were listening to him that God was speaking through him, and undoubtedly, it was apparent to Peter as well. Obviously He felt God’s closeness and discovered that he had courage rather than fear, even though he was standing before Israel’s highest court. As he began to speak, an inspired flow of words came to his mind which was far better than anything he might have planned to say.

Tuesday: Acts 4:8
v8 (continued): So by describing Peter as “filled with the Spirit,” Luke is telling us that the presence of the Holy Spirit came upon him in that courtroom to strengthen him and give him the words to speak. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came upon men and women, from time to time, in order to enable them to perform a special feat or prophesy (Nu 11:25; Jdg 14:6, 19; 1Sa 10:6; also Lk 1:15, 41, 67), but when He was preparing His disciples to face the persecution that lay ahead of them, Jesus assured them that they would always be given such help (Mt 10:16-20; Mk 13:9-11; Lk 12:11, 12; 21:12-15). Here we see Peter and John, who have been brought before “rulers and authorities,” having the Holy Spirit teach them “in that very hour what… to say” (Lk 12:11, 12), just as their Lord had promised.

Wednesday: Acts 4:8-10
vs8-10: Peter respectfully addresses the gathering as “rulers and elders of the people.” He says if he and John were being accused of doing a good deed for an infirm man, they were guilty; and if they were being questioned to find out the source of power that healed the man, they would gladly explain it to them, as well as the entire nation. The miracle had been performed “in the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead,” to which he added, for the sake of emphasis, “in this (name) this man stands before you whole.” By focusing on Jesus’ name, Peter directs everyone’s attention to the real source of the miracle. Yes he, Peter, had commanded the man to be healed and had grabbed him by the hand to raise him up, but he and John were merely functioning as human representatives of Jesus. It was Jesus who had directed them to say what they said, and do what they did, and it was He who had supplied the power that healed the man’s feet and ankles. As we noted earlier (Ac 2:22), the title “Jesus of Nazareth” or “Jesus the Nazarene” was the most common way of identifying Him. But Peter doesn’t leave Jesus’ identity to merely an earthly title. At this point he turns the trial around, putting the religious leaders on trial. In case there was any doubt in their minds, the “Jesus” he was talking about was the one they had been personally responsible for crucifying, and the one God had physically raised from the dead.

Thursday: Acts 4:11
v11: Then Peter announces God’s verdict on this group of judges by quoting from Psalm 118:22. Jesus had already quoted the same verse to warn some who were now sitting in that very room that they were fighting against God’s Messiah (Mt 21:23, 42-46). Peter not only quotes the verse, but adds explanation so no one can escape its true meaning. He says “He is the stone which was rejected,” referring to Jesus, and then adds “by you,” so they will know that they are the guilty “builders.” And finally he says Jesus is Israel’s “chief corner stone,” meaning He is their Messiah who will rule and judge the nation. What had begun as a formal inquiry to see if Peter and John had committed a religious crime, had now turned into a spiritual trial with the apostles pronouncing God’s verdict on the leaders of the nation for refusing to acknowledge their Messiah.

Friday: Acts 4:12
v12: Then Peter makes a bold announcement. He says “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” He’s not saying by this statement that all those who died prior to hearing the gospel, those who never heard Jesus’ name so they could call upon it, were, by that fact alone, lost. He’s telling Israel’s leaders, and for that matter the entire human race, that Jesus is God’s promised Savior, there will be no other (Jn 3:11-18). His death is the atoning sacrifice to which all of Israel’s sacrificial system pointed (Is 53:4-6), He is the resurrected King who ascended to the Father’s right hand (Ps 2; 110:1-3), and will come from heaven to judge the living and the dead (Jn 5:24-29; Ac 10:42). He’s explaining that the Messiah for whom Israel was waiting had come, and it was no longer possible to claim ignorance. They must make a decision.

Saturday: Acts 4:13, 14
v13: No one on this panel of judges expected a response like this. They assumed they would be questioning three frightened men who would be at a loss for words. So the apostles’ boldness and eloquence amazed them, yet at the same time, there was something vaguely familiar about this exchange. It reminded them of the numerous confrontations they’d had with Jesus during His ministry. They had hoped that these frustrating dialogues in which their positions of authority had been disregarded and their attitudes embarrassingly exposed, would have ended with His death. But here they were, once again, being confronted by men without formal religious training, who were not intimidated by them, and who spoke about the deepest sort of biblical matters with confidence and clarity. v14: Not only did these men talk like Jesus, but they even performed a miracle like one of those He had done. And there was the “miracle” standing in front of them, a man they had all passed on the temple steps for decades. It did appear that God had acted to confirm the message about Jesus, but because they refused to believe it, they could not think of anything to say in reply.

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