Acts 4 v 1 - 4

The persecution of the Church had begun and it was the Jewish religious authorities who were the instigators. The healing of the lame man had taken place within a part of the Temple area which was always crowded with people. We had been told in the previous chapter that the lame man had been begging at the Beautiful Gate which led worshippers from the Court of the Gentiles into the Court of Women. The Court of the Gentiles was the busiest of all the Temple courts and it was here that the money-changers had their booths and the sellers of sacrificial victims their stalls. Around the outer boundary of the Temple ran two great colonnades which met in the corner of the Court of the Gentiles: one was the Royal Porch and the other Solomon's Porch. Where the man was healed could not have been in a busier area! Inevitably, the Priests, Sadducees and the Superintendent of the Temple heard about this event and came hurrying to the spot to discover what all the fuss was about!

The arrest of Peter and John appears to be as a reaction to the kerfuffle and in order to maintain the peace. The Sadducees were the wealthy aristocrats who enjoyed the favour of the occupying Roman army and two things the Romans hated were riots and unrest. It may also have been a theological response to Peter and John's declaration that they preached the risen Jesus: the Sadducees did not believe in resurrection. It is a common truth that those with vested interests will not hear any other voices apart from their own and will do their best to supress opposition, even from two people who had just healed a man!

It is extraordinary that Peter and John could withstand the forces of the Jewish religious leaders when they had only recently been quaking with fear over what might happen to them! The Holy Spirit had given them a sense of invested authority: they spoke on behalf of the King!

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