While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning. But many of the people who heard their message believed it, so the number of believers now totaled about 5,000 men, not counting women and children. The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest. They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. (Acts of the Apostles 4:1-10 NLT)
Obviously, the religious leaders were disturbed that Jews and Gentiles were being converted under the preaching of the gospel (death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus). The word "gospel" literally means "good news". Since the gospel was declaring that Jesus had risen from the dead and that He was the way of salvation, it disturbed them (the religious leaders) greatly. We notice that a sect called the Sadducees were among the leaders. This sect didn't believe in resurrection (see Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18; Acts 23:8). Furthermore, a man was healed miraculously in Jesus name. This was upsetting the apple cart of the religious establishment. Also, the preaching was happening at the Temple. The Temple was the most sacred Jewish place. The religious leaders were angry because they thought the preaching and healing were desecrating the Temple and misleading people. They had it backwards. They were desecrating the Temple with their self-righteousness, the rejection of Jesus as Messiah, and their misinterpretation and misapplication of the Law of Moses. Even their own traditions had been added to their practices.
Sounds a lot like the church today... We have become so established in our own traditions that we reject the power of God (2 Timothy 3:1-5). We add our own traditions, often misinterpret the Word, and thus, misapply its truth. Now, we don't think we are. That is why so many are deceived. We suppose ourselves to be proper, religious people but we are, often, no more than form and fashion. When the power of God is manifest, we reject it and try to suppress it. We go through our motions but our lives are unchanged (see Isaiah 29:13 and 14). We no longer accept that God does "certain" things anymore. I submit to you that He is the same today as He always has been (Hebrews 13:8). Could it be that, we, like the religious people of that time, and the churches of Asia Minor in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, need to be reintroduced to the power of Jesus name? There is all power in His Name!!! (Matthew 28:18).
Lastly, if we will allow the power of Jesus to transform us, as it did the early church, we, too, would see true revival. The church, here in this passage, had grown to approximately fifteen to twenty thousand when you factor in the women and children (see Acts 4:4). Church growth comes in the powerful preaching of Jesus name, not programs, projects, and plans of man. God, please awaken your church!!!!!!!
Rev. Curtis Norris