Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,
‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
And the peoples devise futile things?
‘The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’
For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
The religious rulers of the Jews find themselves asking the same questions about Jesus’ disciples that they asked about Jesus. They couldn’t deny the miracle but they wanted to get rid of Jesus’ influence. So they do the only thing in their power to do which is to threaten Peter and John not to teach in the name of Jesus. The disciples response is of course classic that they were simply telling people what they had seen and heard. The Council threatens them further but the one thing they were running into was that the man healed was forty years old and it was a notable miracle. Had they punished the disciples they would have ran into problems. I think they had also used up all their political power with the organizations that backed them so they knew they were limited in what they could do.
The response of the believers is interesting when they hear the news. They pray to God. Why do I find his interesting because it is no longer common for believers to do this when they face opposition. Many Christians would rather organize protest rallies against persecution or try to claim some sort of rights but the early believers did not have those options nor did they think praying to God was unproductive.
The result is that instead of the situation changing the believers are given more of the holy Spirit to empower them to boldness. I find it interesting that the first action of believers in most cases in the book of Acts is to turn to God and rely more on his power. I wonder what would happen if modern day believer did the same?
Next: Sharing Among Believers