corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.10.13
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Acts 4

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,

Peter and John Arrested-Prodigious Increase of Disciples ()

And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple , [ ho (Greek #3588) strateegos (Greek #4755) tou (Greek #3588) hierou (Greek #2411)] - the commanding officer of the Levitical guard in charge of the temple, annoyed at the disturbance created around it,

And the Sadducees - "who say that there is no resurrection" (Acts 23:8), irritated at the apostles for preaching the resurrection of Jesus, which, if true, demolished the Sadducean doctrine, "came upon them."


Verse 2

Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead , [ en (Greek #1722) too (Greek #3588) Ieesou (Greek #2424)] - rather, 'preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.' It was not the resurrection from the dead as a doctrine which they insisted on, but the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead; but as the doctrine followed irresistibly from the fact, the enmity of this sect against the preachers was immediately aroused. Alexander properly calls attention to the emphatic form here employed [ teen (Greek #3588) anastasin (Greek #386) teen (Greek #3588) ek (Greek #1537) nekroon (Greek #3498): cf. Luke 20:35] - 'the resurrection, that from the dead,' as expressing a rising very different from anything which the Gentile readers of this book would ever dream of.


Verse 3

And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.

And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide - the miracle having been performed so late as p.m. (Acts 3:1).


Verse 4

Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed. For illustration of this delightful statement, Calvin refers to 2 Timothy 2:9 (where, by the way, a play upon the words bound and bonds will be observed), "Wherein I suffer trouble, even unto bonds [ desmoon (Greek #1199)], but the word of God is not bound" [ dedetai (Greek #1210)].

And the number of the men , [ toon (Greek #3588) androon (Greek #435)] - meaning probably the males, exclusive of women; though the word sometimes includes both,

Was , [ egeneethee (Greek #1096)] - 'became,' or 'came to be' in all " about five thousand. "

About five thousand. And this in Jerusalem, where the means of deleting the imposture or crushing the fanaticism-if such it had been-were within everyone's reach, and where there was every inducement to sift it to the bottom. [Tischendorf excludes hoosei (Greek #5616) from his text. Lachmann brackets it in the form of hoos (Greek #5613); Alford is doubtful about it. But the evidence for it rather preponderates, and the historian would probably not give the number so definitely.]

Peter, Questioned about the Miracle, Courageously Testifies to Jesus ()


Verse 5

And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,

And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes. This was a regular meeting of the Sanhedrim (see the note at Matthew 2:4).


Verse 6

And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas. See the note at Luke 3:2 (in opening Remarks on Matthew 3:1-17) and at John 18:13 (in exposition of Mark 14:53-72, pp. 202, 203).

And John, and Alexander - of whom nothing is known,

And as many as were of the kindred of the high priest. The public influence which Annas had acquired may be judged of by this, that though the Romans made a practice of setting up and displacing the high priests at pleasure, for their own political ends, the office was filled by Caiaphas and five of his sons in succession.

Were gathered together at Jerusalem , [ eis (Greek #1519) Ierousaleem (Greek #2419), the received reading, has scarcely any support: en (Greek #1722) is evidently the genuine text]. The true sense, according to the arrangement of the words, is, 'their rulers in Jerusalem were gathered together;' that is, as many of them as were in the city at that time.


Verse 7

And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?

And when they had set them in the midst - the council sitting in a semi-circle (as Maimonides, quoted by Lightfoot, says),

They asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? - thus admitting the reality of the miracle, which, indeed, afterward they confess themselves unable to deny (Acts 4:16).


Verse 8

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit - according to the Lord's own promise (Mark 13:11; Luke 21:15), "said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel."


Verse 9

If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;

If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole , [ en (Greek #1722) tini (Greek #5100)] - or rather, 'by whom he is made whole:' both the question itself and the answer to it in the next verse seem to favour this latter sense.


Verse 10

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel - as if emitting a formal judicial testimony to the entire nation through its rulers, now solemnly convened,

That by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead (see the note at Acts 3:13, etc., and Remark 2 at the close of that Section),

Even by him doth this man stand here before you whole - for it appears from Acts 4:14 that the healed man was at that moment before their eyes.


Verse 11

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. This application of Psalms 118:22, already made by our Lord Himself before some of the same "builders" (Matthew 21:42), is here repeated with special propriety after the deed of rejection had been consummated, and the rejected One had, by His exaltation to the right hand of the Majesty on high, become "the head of the corner."


Verse 12

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. How sublimely does the apostle, in these closing words, shut up these rulers of Israel to Jesus for salvation, and in what universal and emphatic terms does he hold up his Lord as the one Hope of men! It is not 'may,' but "must be saved," if saved at all, in this only way.

How the Council Feel and Act ()


Verse 13

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men. By the one word [ agrammatoi (Greek #62)] they mean 'men uninstructed in the learning of the Jewish schools;' and by the other [ idiootai (Greek #2399)], 'men of the common sort,' from whom such intelligence and such a bearing were not to be looked for.

They took knowledge of them, [ epeginooskon (G1921), or 'recognized them,'] that they had been with Jesus - or identified them as persons whom they had seen before in company with Jesus; their wonder sharpening their recollection. So Meyer, Alford, Baumgarten, Hackett, Lechler, etc., understand this remarkable statement; and perhaps they are right. But the historian's remark may mean rather, that in the whole demeanour of these men the Council observed what irresistibly brought Jesus Himself before their view, as He had stood before them but a few weeks before, and convinced them that their contact with Him was what had stamped upon them this calm, lofty heroism: 'We thought we had gotten rid of Him; but, lo! He re-appears in these men, and all that troubled us in the Nazarene Himself has yet to be put down in these His disciples.' What a testimony to these primitive witnesses! Would that the same could be said of their successors!


Verse 14

And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

And beholding , [ te (Greek #5037) is the true particle here: de (Greek #1161) has hardly any support]; 'Beholding also'

The man which was healed standing with them - no longer "laid at the gate" (Acts 3:2), "they could say nothing against it."


Verse 15

But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,

But, when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred - or 'proceeded to confer' [ suneballon (Greek #4820) is better supported than sunebalon (Greek #4820) of the Received Text] "among themselves."


Verse 16

Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.

Saying ... Though the apostles were not present at these consultations, others who afterward became "obedient to the faith" may have been; not to speak of Saul of Tarsus: from them our historian might easily learn what is related in this verse and the next.

What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle, [ gnooston (G1110) seemeion (G4592), 'a notorious miracle'] hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. And why should ye wish to deny it, O ye rulers, but that ye hate the light, and will not come to the light, lest your deeds should be reproved?


Verse 17

But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.

But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly (or 'strictly') threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. Impotent device! Little knew they the fire that was burning in the bones of those heroic disciples.


Verse 18

And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

And they called them, and commanded [them] not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus - [ autois (Greek #846) has next to no manuscript authority.])


Verse 19

But Peter and John answered and said unto them Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 20

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. Who can fail to observe here a rare union of sober, respectful appeal to the better reason of their judges, and of calm, deep determination to abide the consequences of a testimony that could not be withheld-betokening a power above their own resting upon them, according to their Master's promise. That promise extended both to "how and what they should speak" (Matthew 10:19, poos (Greek #4459) ee (Greek #2228) ti (Greek #5100)) - both to the thing to be said and the manner of saying it; and it would be difficult to decide whether in the one or the other of these, Peter's reply on this occasion was the more remarkable.


Verse 21

So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.

So, when they had further threatened them, - or, added a threat to the prohibition recorded in Acts 4:18,

They let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, [ meeden (Greek #3367) heuriskontes (Greek #2147) to (Greek #3588) poos (Greek #4459)] - rather, 'no means of punishing them' (not, no cause for doing so),

Because of the people-for fear of a riot: for all men glorified God for that which was done. They were at no loss for a pretext to punish them, but knew not how to do so without a popular tumult, knowing the deep and general impression that so manifest a miracle had produced.


Verse 22

For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. For the man was above forty years old on whom this miracle of healing was showed. But what availed the most resistless evidence to men determined beforehand not to receive any?

Peter and John, Let Go, Report these Proceedings to the Assembled Disciples, who thereupon in a Sublime Prayer Commit their Now Critical Cause to the Lord ()


Verse 23

And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.

And being let go, they went to their own [company]. How sweet is the contrast here presented, between the dismissers and the dismissed, and the two companies they represented; in the one of which the two apostles felt themselves as sheep among wolves, in the other breathing the air of home among their own, in the common faith and love of Jesus!

And reported all that the chief priests and elders has said unto them.


Verse 24

And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:

And when they heard that, they (that is, the assembled disciples), lifted up their voice to God with one accord , [ homothumadon (Greek #3661)] - one voice leading, but the breasts of all heaving sympathetically and echoing every word of this brief, comprehensive, mighty prayer.

And said, Lord , [ Despota (Greek #1203)]. This word, rarely used in the New Testament, and never but with intentional emphasis, signifies the 'absolute master' of another, whether really or in the speaker's feeling. Here it is used to express that in God which this small and feeble company feel themselves thrown back upon, and which it was their privilege to invoke (see the note at Luke 2:29).

Thou art [God]. The bracketed word [ ho (Greek #3588) Theos (Greek #2316)] is of doubtful authority [it is missing in 'Aleph (') A B, the Vulgate and Memphitic versions, and some principal fathers; and it is struck out of the text by Lachmann and Tischendorf]. But though the external authority for it is weaker, the internal evidence in its favour is considerable. [It seems easier to account for its omission, though genuine, than for its insertion if spurious, since as ho (Greek #3588) occurs twice with only Theos (Greek #2316) intervening, a transcriber might easily pass from the first one to poieesas (Greek #4160), omitting the two intervening words.] Accordingly, DeWette, Meyer, and Alford decide in favour of these bracketed words. But if left out, the sense will be, 'Thou art He which' etc.

Which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: - `against Whom, therefore, all creatures are powerless.'


Verse 25

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said - in Psalms 2:1-2; a Psalm which, though anonymous, was ascribed to David by the Jews themselves, and internal evidence is in favour of this: "Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?"


Verse 26

The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ , [ m


Verse 27

For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,

For of a truth [in this city]. The words here inserted in brackets [ en (Greek #1722) tee (Greek #3588) polei (Greek #4172) tautee (Greek #5026)] are most evidently part of the original text (being in 'Aleph (') A B D E, many cursives, and nearly all versions), and were probably intended to answer to the words "upon my holy hill of Zion," in the Psalm.

Against thy holy child Jesus rather 'Servant Jesus;' see the note at Acts 3:13 Against thy holy child Jesus - rather 'Servant Jesus;' see the note at Acts 3:13.

Whom thou hast anointed - not as David was, by a human prophet pouring oil on his head, but by the Father Himself with the immeasurable anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel - not only the supreme Roman and Jewish authorities, but the people of both, all combined, "were gathered together,"


Verse 28

For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done - meaning, 'to do what His counsel determined to be done by His hand,' a well-understood colloquialism, like that of Acts 14:17. On the mysterious concurrence, here so distinctly expressed, of a voluntary combination of human parties against the Lord Jesus, and the purpose of God from eternity in that death, see the note at Acts 2:23, and Remark 2, at the close of that Section.


Verse 29

And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

And now, Lord, behold their threatenings. Looking upon the threatenings of the Sanhedrim as a declaration of war by the combined powers of the world against their infant cause, they seek not, in a spirit of heated enthusiasm, to hide from themselves its critical position, but calmly ask the Lord of heaven and earth to 'look upon their threatenings.'


Verse 30

By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child - rather, as before, 'Servant' Jesus. Rising above self, they ask only fearless courage to testify for their Master, and divine attestation of their testimony by miracles of healing, etc. being done by their instrumentality through the name of Jesus, as the Father's Anointed Servant.

The answer and its Results ()


Verse 31

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together. Manifestly this was no ordinary earthquake, extending to the city generally, or any portion of it beyond the "place" where they were assembled. The concussion was evidently quite local, filling all present doubtless, with awe, and giving glorious token of the commotion which the Gospel, sounding forth from their lips, was speedily to create (see Acts 17:6, and compare Acts 16:26), and of the overthrow of all opposing powers in which this was to issue!

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness.


Verse 32

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that anything of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. The spirit rested upon the entire community, first in the very way that had asked, so that they "spake the word with boldness" (Acts 4:29-31); next, in melting down all selfishness, and absorbing even the feeling of individuality in an intense and glowing realization of Christian unity. The community of goods was but an outward expression of this, and, in such circumstances, it was altogether natural and touching.


Verse 33

And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

And with great power great effect on men's minds And with great power - great effect on men's minds,

Gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus - the one burden of their testimony, which, to all who intelligently received it, carried in its bosom salvation and life everlasting.

And great grace was upon them - the grace of God rested copiously and manifestly on the whole infant community.


Verse 34

Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,


Verse 35

And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

And laid them down at the apostles' feet - as. they sat, it may be, in the meetings above the rest; but the expression may be meant here figuratively, from the practice of disciples to sit literally beneath their masters.


Verse 36

And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,

And Joses, This reading is in no uncial manuscript. The true reading is evidently 'Joseph:'

Who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,)

[ parakleeseoos (Greek #3874)], or, perhaps, 'exhortation,' as the word more directly signifies, and more usually means in the New Testament (perhaps corresponding to bar (Hebrew #1247) n


Verse 37

Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.

Having land. The Levites, though, as a tribe, they had no inheritance, might, and did acquire property as individuals (see Deuteronomy 18:8).

Sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet. This is specified, not merely as a signal example of that spirit of generous self-sacrifice which pervaded all, but to introduce to us-in connection with this his first offering to the Lord Jesus-a name which the sequel of this history has rendered dear to every Christian.

Remarks:

(1) The weakness of the recent attempts to shake the credit of this book, considered as authentic history, is strikingly seen in the light of such a chapter as this. Look at the bearing of the two parties. Awed by the signal miracle so openly performed, yet determined to resist the evidence which it bore to Him whom they had put to death, the ecclesiastic, in full conclave, question the humble apostles on the subject, hoping to terrify them either into a disavowal of the act itself, or into silence regarding it as a testimony to their crucified and risen Lord. But the heroism of those simple men, and the grandeur of their testimony before that grave assembly, startle and confound them. And not knowing which of the two alternatives they were shut up to was the worst-to deny the miracle, while the evidence of its truth was in the midst of them, or to admit the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, which it manifestly attested, and fall down and worship Him-they order the court to be cleared, that they might consult among themselves.

The resolution come to is simply to silence the preachers, in the confident expectation that a peremptory mandate only was needed. To their consternation, the men decline to obey; not defiantly, but by a calm appeal to themselves whether it would be right to obey them rather than God, and by a respectful expression of their inability to refrain from proclaiming what their own eyes and ears had to tell of their blessed Master. This would doubtless have been visited with summary punishment, had the Council been sure that they had the people with them. But knowing as they did that the whole city was ringing with the miracle-the beneficence of which was not less signal than the power by which it was done-they were obliged to dismiss them with an impotent repetition of their threats. Unruffled, they hie them to "their own" - their fellow-disciples-assembled together in deep anxiety, no doubt, to learn the fate of their trusty leaders.

From the report they gave in, the critical condition of the infant cause flashes at once upon the meeting-with the authorities, on the one hand, determined to silence their testimony, and the apostles, on the other, giving notice that they shall not be silenced. What is to be done? With one accord they lift up their voice to God, sublimely asking Him to look at this state of matters, and come to the rescue-not of them, but of His anointed cause-by giving them the needful courage to testify to Jesus in face of all danger, and by so sealing their testimony from heaven as to ensure its triumph. While they are yet speaking, the place shakes at the presence of the Lord; the Holy Spirit fills the souls of all that were there, and that boldness to speak the word which they had sought is at once felt and exemplified: their hearts are knit together, and the disinterested emotion of 'none for himself, but each for all,' takes possession of the whole multitude of the disciples, expressing itself in a way and to an extent before unheard of. What unprejudiced reader does not see artless narrative, life-like, self-attesting historic truth stamped upon all this!

(2) The strictly Jewish point of view, from which the apostle addresses the Sanhedrim and the disciples pour out their hearts in prayer, must again be observed, throughout this chapter. (See the notes at Acts 2:14-47, Remark 1, at the close of that section.)

(3) When one reads that most explicit and peremptory statement of the apostle here, "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved," what is to be thought of the growing tendency of what are called liberal theologians to disconnect salvation, not only from all faith in Jesus, but from all Biblical beliefs-from everything, in short, but the state of the heart-a thing so indefinite and flexible that everyone will put his own meaning on it? When men's liberality in religion comes so low down as this, they will not long retain their belief in salvation itself, considered as an eternal deliverance from a lost state, and all religion will eventually evaporate into mere sentiment. Nor will any alternative be found by the intelligent and awakened mind, but in the surrender of the heart to Jesus as the one revealed Way of a sinner's salvation, or in the abandonment of all certainty about eternal things.

(4) As the bearing of Peter and John brought up before the Jewish Council the recollection of Jesus Himself, so that Image lives still in the minds even of the enemies of His Gospel, and will be recognized by them in those who live for Him and breathe the atmosphere of His presence. And is it not worthy of a Christian's highest ambition to extort such a testimony, even from those who cannot bear his ways, that he has "been with Jesus"?

(5) The whole history of the opposition which our Lord and His apostles met with illustrates this humbling truth, that there is an unbelief which no amount of mere evidence for the Gospel will cure, and which only becomes the more virulent the clearer the evidence for the truth becomes. In the present case the evidence of an instantaneous and marvelous miracle of healing was before the eyes of the Jewish rulers; and, that this miracle was performed in the name of Him whom they had crucified, but whom the apostles testified that God had raised from the dead and exalted to His right hand, was not disputed, and could not possibly be denied; yet all this failed to dislodge the unbelief of these ecclesiastics, who, being determined beforehand not to be convinced, became only the more exasperated in proportion as the light shone more brightly around them. And is it not so still? Let us cease, then, to wonder when the clearest evidence proves unavailing; and feeling how powerless we are to carry the heart by mere demonstration, let us cast the case upon Him who turned a "Saul of Tarsus" into "Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ."

(6) When the apostles said, "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard," they gave utterance to a great Christian principle. 'On many things which our eyes and ears have attested to us (to use the words of Calvin) we both may and ought to keep silence, when the preservation of peace is the matter in hand; for to make a noise about things not necessary is the part of an inhuman and unworthy obstinacy. But it is otherwise when the Gospel of Christ is concerned, involving, as that does, the glory of God and the salvation of men. To suppress this by human interdicts, which God has ordered to be proclaimed, is a base and sacrilegious iniquity, especially when it is uttered by those whose mouths God has manifestly opened as chosen witnesses and preachers of Christ. Whoso commands silence in this case does his best to abolish the grace of God and the salvation of men.'

(7) But, for the encouragement of Christ's faithful witnesses in such circumstances, let it be observed, that a courageous testimony for the truth has often proved, as it did in this case, the best security against suffering for it; while timid submission to the enemies of the truth, instead of mollifying, has often emboldened them to proceed further than but for this they would have dared to go.

(8) How sweetly are Christ's suffering witnesses, in times of persecution, drawn and knit together; and when, on being unexpectedly released from impending danger, they return to the society of "their own," how entirely at home with each other do they feel, beyond anything that mere human relationship could beget! Pity that in times of peace this feeling among Christians is so very weak.

(9) Let the reader ponder the prayer which this assembly of primitive disciples sent up to heaven on hearing the report of Peter and John. Even the fact that it was the disciples themselves, and not apostles, that gave it utterance is worthy of notice. For though the spokesman may have been an apostle, the mere fact that this is not said, while it is expressly said that it was the assembled disciples that lifted up their voice in prayer, seems clearly to show that it was simply as a Christian mouth-piece of Christian men and women that the spokesman-whoever he was-offered this prayer. But it is the matter, and strain, and form of this prayer to which we now call attention. Directing their eye up to Him whose word had called everything into being, they remind Him that His own prophetic word had foretold and pictured forth the very hostility they were now encountering; and this done, they simply ask Him to look at this state of things, to embolden them to speak for Jesus, and to attest from heaven the word which they should give forth. While they yet spake, the answer came, and as gloriously as speedily. But it is the simplicity and directness of the prayer to which we would bespeak attention. Knowing that He to whom they spake was near to them, and pledged in their behalf, they come at once to the point-telling Him that they are shut up to Him, and that they rely on Him. With this they have done. And oh what power is there in such prayer-with its childlike confidence, reverential dignity, sublime brevity!

(10) If the "love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:10), surely that state of the infant Church in which "none said that anything that he possessed was his own" must be deemed the highest spiritual condition of the Church of Christ upon earth; and as this was the result of a copious effusion of the Holy Spirit upon them-when, feeling themselves shut up to divine preservation against a hostile world, which they were nevertheless prepared to encounter, they cast themselves upon Him who made heaven and earth, and whom no events could take by surprise-so there seems nothing lacking to the attainment of the same spiritual elevation but the same childlike faith, the same dependence on the Lord of all, the same all-absorbing devotedness to Jesus, the same love unto all the saints, as having one precious interest to uphold against a hostile world.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Acts 4:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/acts-4.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology