As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And 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.”
It is interesting that the same Sanhedrin and the same high priest that now find themselves confronted by the situation of Peter and John were the same ones that wants the crucifixion of Jesus. It really has only been a couple of months since Jesus crucifixion and probably the rulers of the Jews had some peace now they did not have to deal with this Jesus of Nazareth character. There new problem is that now some of Jesus’ disciples are causing them the same problem only the thing they ‘convicted’ Jesus of they can’t get the disciples on. Peter and John are not claiming to be the Messiah or to be the son of God. They are only claiming that Jesus has risen from the dead and that HE was the Messiah and the Son of God. The rulers are greatly disturbed by this and so they arrest the two disciples but as the trial goes down I think they even realize they are on shaky ground.
Peter’s address to the rulers is to specifically answer their question about what power had been used to make the lame man well. We need to realize that the rulers of the Jews probably did take some heat for Jesus’ death. Remember that Pontius Pilate felt Jesus was innocent so from the Roman point of view the Jews killed an innocent man, but also there was a divided crowd even among the Jews and the rulers themselves about Jesus. It is interesting that the book of Acts does not mention Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea who both had helped Jesus at different points and been his disciples. Perhaps they had been removed from rule during the months that followed Jesus’ death.
Peter’s response is straightforward but pointed: 1) Are we on trial for healing someone?, 2) We did this in Jesus of Nazareth’s name, 3) You crucified him but God raised him from the dead, 4) Jesus is the stone you rejected but God has made the head of the corner and 5) You can only be saved in Jesus name. If there was a response that could have been made that put the rulers more on the spot I am not sure what it would have been.
Next: Threat and Release