Acts

4:1-22

1. The early church in Jerusalem, 1:1-5:42

x] The arrest and trial of the disciples

Synopsis

The healing of the crippled man by Peter at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate, and his subsequent sermon to the gathered crowd, 3:1-26, prompted a reaction from the Sadducees. Being politically aligned to the Roman government, the Sadducees did not sit easily with anything that might disturb the peace. So, they had both Peter and John arrested and the next day brought them to be tried before the Sanhedrin. Peter led the defense and obviously impressed some of the religious authorities. The Pharisees were not as fearful of the apostolic community as were the Sadducees. The disciples were certainly sect-like, but they were devoted both to the Law and temple observances, and above all, they had only just performed an amazing cure on a well-known cripple. Having heard Peter out, the two disciples were taken from the Sanhedrin while their supposed crime was discussed. The evidence of the cure and the disciples' standing in the community, restrained further action against them and so they were sent away with a warning not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus. Of course, Peter was his defiant self, telling the assembled authorities that "we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard."

 
Teaching

Christianity is not Judaism for "Jesus is the sole agent of eschatological salvation for all humanity", Fitzmyer.

 
Issues

i] Context: See 1:1-11.

 

ii] Structure: This passage, The arrest and trial of the disciples, presents as follows:

The disciples arrest and overnight stay in jail, v1-4;

Their arraignment before the Sanhedrin, v5-7;

Peter's address, v8-12;

"salvation is found in no one else."

The deliberation of the religious authorities, v13-17;

The direction of the religious authorities and Peter's response, v18-20;

"we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

The authorities back down, v21-22.

 

iii] Interpretation:

As is the case with many of the episodes in Acts, Luke "gives a dramatic presentation of apostolic courage and boldness", Fitzmyer. Barrett, on the other hand, argues that by the end of the episode "three groups are clearly distinguished: the apostles and their company, the Jewish authorities, and the common people. This development is more important to Luke than his presentation of the personal courage of two Christian witnesses." In simple terms, Luke's message is that Christianity is not Judaism.

 

The issue of authority for both the disciples and Israel's religious leaders. For Israel's religious leaders, the issue prompting the arrest and trial of the disciples is their teaching "in the name of Jesus", ie., proceeding with the assumption that Jesus has / had the authority to teach matters of theology. As far as the religious leaders are concerned, the teachings of Jesus are not authorized; they are not sanctioned for the education of God's people Israel. This fact prompted the authorities to arrest Peter and John and shape the instruction given to them, namely, "not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus", v18. In much the same way as Jesus confirmed the authority of the Son of Man to forgive sins by saying to the cripple man "take up your mat and walk", so Peter confirms the authority of Jesus in the healing of the lame man. Given this miracle, Jesus is obviously the rejected stone, now the cornerstone, and therefore "salvation is found in no one else."

This issue of authority explains the rather strange statement in v2, kataggellein en tw/ Ihsou thn anastasin thn ek nekrwn, "proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead." The issue of the resurrection of the dead is not raised at the meeting of the Sanhedrin because this apocalyptic hope was fully accepted by the Pharisees, even down to the use of a partitive ek serving to make the point that it is the righteous alone who are raised from all those who are dead. The Sadducees would not agree with this, but they had heard it all before. The issue concerns the apostles teaching the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead "in Jesus." The preposition en, "in", is probably instrumental, expressing means, "by means of"; "by the name of Jesus" = "by the authority of Jesus." Other interpretations are proposed, eg., "they were proclaiming by means of the story of Jesus the resurrection of the dead", Barrett;

 

iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

 
Text - 4:5

Peter and John before the Sanhedrin, v1-22: ii] Peter and John's arraignment, v5-7. The Jewish authorities obviously expected the elimination of the sect of the Nazarene with the execution of Jesus. The arrest of some of his disciples in the temple, after stirring up the faithful with the healing of a cripple, must have caused great consternation. At the hearing, the Sadducees were in the majority. Annas, the ex-high priest, and his mouthpiece son-in-law, Caiaphas, presided. Other members of the high priestly family were present. John is probably Jonathan, son of Annas, who later succeeded Caiaphas. The disciples are asked by what authority they acted as they did on the previous day. Who gave them the authority to perform healings and make speeches in the temple precincts?

egeneto (ginomai) aor. "-" - it came about, happened. Serving to introduce a new episode.

epi + acc. "-" - on, upon. Temporal use of the preposition.

thn aurion "the next day" - the morrow. The accusative articular adverb serves as a substantive; "The next morning", CEV.

touV grammateiV (uV ewV) acc. "teachers of the law" - scribes. Along with the [chief] priests / leaders and elders, scribes serves as the accusative subject of the infinitive, "to gather together." The three representative groups indicate that the gathering of the Sanhedrin was for a formal session. Best rendered "the Jewish authorities." The scribes are "specialists in the law of Moses."

sunacqhnai (sunagw) aor. pas. inf. "met" - to be assembled, gathered together, convened [of them]. The infinitive serves as a substantive, subject of the verb "it came about", "on the next day the leaders, the elders and the scribes to be gathered of them came about / happened" = "on the next day a gathering of the religious authorities assembled in Jerusalem."

autwn gen. pro. "-" - of them. The antecedent is unspecified, but obviously "Jews". The genitive may be classified as adjectival, partitive, the assembly being made up of representative Jews from the three different groups.

en + dat. "in [Jerusalem]" - Local, expressing space / sphere.

 
v6

AnnaV "Annas" - Annas was appointed high priest by Quirinius in 6AD. Although only high priest for 9 years, he continued to wield authority through the numerous members of his family who were to hold the position.

arciereuV "high priest" - The word refers to the position of high priest, but can also refer to the families from which a high priest is appointed, ie. "chief priests."

KaiafaV "Caiaphas" - Appointed by Valerius Gratus in 18AD and was to hold the position for eighteen years until sacked by Vitellius in 36AD.

IwannhV, IwnaqaV "John" - The Western text has Jonathan following Josephus who mentions Jonathan, the son of Annas, the high priest who served for one year after Caiaphas in 36AD, cf. NJB. There is no extant record of Alexander.

ek + gen. "[others] of [the high priest's family]" - [as many as were] from [the high priestly family]. The preposition is serving as a partitive genitive.

 
v7

sthsanteV (isthmi) aor. part. "brought" - having stood, placed. The participle may be treated as adverbial, temporal, "and when they had set them in the midst", AV, or possibly causal, but also possibly attendant circumstance as NIV; "they made the men stand before them", Moffatt.

en + dat. "before" - [them] in [the midst]. Local, expressing space / sphere. "In the middle" is literally correct in that the Sanhedrin met in a half-round.

epunqanonto (punqanomai) imperf. "began to question them" - they were enquiring. The imperfect, being durative, is possibly expressing ongoing action, although speech is usually rendered by an imperfect tense. Here it is possibly inceptive, stressing the beginning of the action, as NIV.

en + dat. "by" - Instrumental, expressing means, as NIV.

poia/ pro. "what" - what kind of. The sense is "what power?", not "what kind of power?"

dunamei (iV ewV) dat. "power" - The word "power" is a little misleading. The authorities are asking the disciples to identify the supernatural force that was used to achieve the healing of the lame man; "how is it that you were able to make the lame man walk?"

onomati (a atoV) dat. "[what] name" - [in what kind of] name. The "name" bears a person's authority, so "by what authority"; "who gave you the right", TH.

epoihsate (poiew) aor. "[did you] do [this]" - do [this you]. "By what authority, did you perform this miracle."

uJmeiV "you" - The position of the "you" implies scorn. "By what authority do people like you do this."

 
v8

iii] Peter's address, v8-12. Following Jesus' instructions, Peter answers boldly, Lk.21:14f. If the question by the authorities concerns the healing of the crippled beggar (who is actually present either as a witness or a prisoner), then responsibility for the healing rests with Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah. It was done in his "name", ie., in his person and under his authority. Although the apostles are supposed to be defending themselves, Peter goes on the attack and proclaims the gospel. When Jesus preached the gospel he did so with the words "the kingdom of God is at hand." This truth is realized in the resurrection of Jesus, and so Peter makes it the focus of his response. Jesus is the person you executed, but "God raised from the dead." Again, we see the centrality of the resurrection in the apostolic witness to Jesus. Jesus is alive, and therefore, powerfully at work. In presenting the gospel, particularly to Jews, the apostles announced that "the time is fulfilled" by proof-texting messianic promises fulfilled in the life and teachings of Jesus. Here, in v11, Peter uses Psalm 118:22 to remind his hearers that the messiah, although temporarily humiliated, is subsequently glorified. Although the verse originally referred to the nation Israel, it was later applied to the messiah, for he was viewed as a corporate figure, just as the king was a corporate figure. Jesus represents faithful Israel, humiliated, but inevitably glorified. Following the standard form of New Testament evangelism, Peter concludes with a call to "repent and believe the gospel", v12. Of course, he presents this call in his own words. By implication, if Jesus is the messiah and this was just revealed in the sign of the healing of the crippled beggar at the Beautiful Gate, then the blessings promised to Abraham of a kingdom, of "salvation", can come to Israel by no other person than Jesus. As Jesus delivered the beggar, so Jesus can deliver Israel. To ignore this deliverance is to face judgement. Clearly, a response is called for.

tote adv. "Then" - Temporal adverb.

plhsqeiV (pimplhmi) aor. pas. part. "filled" - having been filled. The participle is most likely adjectival, attributive, limiting Peter, "Peter, who was filled with the Holy Spirit". The aorist indicating punctiliar action; Peter was filled then and there to enable him to fulfill a particular purpose, namely, to speak with authority. This phrase is constantly worked over in Christian theology and probably can't carry the weight it is often given. On numerous occasions in Acts people are "filled" and speak. This is very much an Old Testament idea taken up by Luke. Such a use is obviously different to a person who is described as "full" (adjective) of the Spirit, in the sense of being a gifted person, eg. Stephen, 6:5.

pneumatoV (a atoV) gen. "with the [Holy] Spirit" - The genitive is adjectival, of content; "filled full of."

arconteV ..... kai presbuteroi "rulers and elders" - Peter's address to the Sanhedrin is respectful; "rulers of the people and Elders of Israel", Moffatt.

tou laou (oV) gen. "of the people" - The genitive is adjectival, of subordination; "over the people."

 
v9

ei + ind. "if" - Introducing a conditional clause 1st class, where the condition is assumed to be true "if, as is the case, ... then ......". This being the case, and since the use of "if" implies doubt in English, an unequivocal statement may be clearer; "you are questioning us today about a kind deed", CEV.

anakrinomeqa (anakrinw) pres. pas. "[we] are being called to account" - [we] are being examined, interrogated, questioned. "If today we are under examination", Barclay.

shmeron adv. "today" - Temporal adverb.

epi + dat. "for [an act of kindness shown to]" - over / on account of [a kindness]. Expressing reference / respect; "with respect to a kindness." "A benefit we rendered to a cripple", Moffatt.

anqrwpou (oV) gen. "shown to a man [who was lame]" - of a [lame] man. The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective, after the verbal noun euergesia, "a good deed, benefit, kindness"; "benevolent service to a cripple", Berkeley, "rendered to, shown to, ...."

en + dat. "and are being asked how" - in [what]. Probably instrumental, expressing means; "by what means."

seswstai (swzw) perf. pas. "he was healed" - [this one] has been healed / saved. The word is used of being saved, rescued, but also of being saved / rescued from disease, so, in this context, "healed, cured".

 
v10

uJmin dat. pro. "[know this], you" - [let it be known] to [all] you. Dative of indirect object. "If you wish to know, then here are the facts", Barrett, to all the members of the Sanhedrin, and all the people of Israel.

Israhl "[people] of Israel" - A proper genitive like this would be viewed as adjectival, possessive; "the people belonging to the state of Israel" = "all the citizens of Israel."

oti "-" - that [in the name]". Introducing a dependent statement of perception / commanding, expressing what they need to take note of.

en tw/ onomati "in the name [of Jesus Christ]" - As above, "it is by the authority of Jesus Christ.

tou Nazwraiou (oV) gen. "of Nazareth" - The genitive may be ablative, expressing source / origin, "from Nazareth" = IhsouV apo Nazaret, Mk.1:9. It can also be taken as adjectival, attributive / idiomatic, "Jesus Christ who comes from Nazareth", or better as a substantive standing in apposition to "Jesus Christ"; "Jesus Christ the one who comes from Nazareth / the Nazarene."

o}n rel. pro. "whom" - Haenchen notes that the two relative clauses in this verse are creed-like formulations.

estaurwsate (staurow) aor. "[you] crucified" - "Killed". Peter is directly apportioning blame to his audience. It's uJmeiV, "you", crucified, not "the Romans crucified." The "you" is emphatic by use.

hgeiren (egeirw) aor. "raised" - raised, lifted up. As is typical of the apostolic preaching, the resurrection of Christ is central to the gospel. "You" did the messiah harm, but God vindicated him by raising him from the dead. Thus, he, the stone rejected, is the cornerstone, the glorified messiah, the king of the kingdom. Consequently, eschatological salvation is not going to be found anywhere else other than through him.

ek + gen. "from [the dead]" - Expressing separation; "from."

en + dat. "-" - in. As above, instrumental, expressing means; "by this."

toutw/ dat. pro. "that this man" - this. "This person", or "this name", or both = "it is by this person's authority that this man (one) stands ...."

paresthken (paristhmi) perf. "stands" - has stood. "It is by his power that this man at our side stands in your presence perfectly well", Phillips.

enwpion + gen. "before" - in front of, before. Spacial

uJgihV adj. "healed" - healthy, whole. "Perfectly well", Fitzmyer.

 
v11

ou|toV estin "he is / Jesus is" - this one is. May read better if expanded, given that "Jesus Christ" is the antecedent of "this"; "Jesus is the one of whom the scripture says", TEV.

uJf (uJpo) + gen. "[you]" - [the stone, the one rejected] by [you, the ones building]. Expressing agency. Luke seems to have added "by you" to the original quote from Psalm 118:22, although he may be working off a particular LXX version.

twn oikodomwn (oV) gen. "builders" - the ones building. The articular adjective serves as a substantive. Genitive in apposition to "you".

oJ exouqenhqeiV (exouqenew) aor. pas. part. "rejected" - the one being despised, disdained, rejected, neglected. The participle serves as a substantive standing in apposition to "the stone", "the stone, the one rejected." "The stone that did not measure up to the builders' expectation has become the most important stone in the edifice", Fitzmyer. "The stone which was contemptuously rejected by you builders", Barclay.

oJ genomenoV (ginomai) aor. mid. part. "which has become" - the one becoming. The participle is possibly adjectival, attributive, as NIV, or serves as a substantive standing in apposition to "the stone"; "this person has become ..."

gwniaV (a) gen. "the capstone / cornerstone" - [head] of the corner, corner stone. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "head stone." This stone is the stone of stumbling that people trip over and also the stone that falls and crushes. Jesus used this image, Mat.21:42ff, Lk.20:17ff, drawing on Isaiah's rejected stone that now trips people up, 8:14, and Daniel's stone that crushes, 2:35. Peter rightly picks up on the image in his preaching. As for the word itself, it can refer to the corner stone upon which a building is founded, a capstone / keystone at the highest corner of a building, or a keystone in an arch.

 
v12

hJ swthria (a) "salvation" - salvation, health. The word carries both meanings, with the stress on "health" in secular circles; "deliverance of human beings from evil, whether physical, political, cataclysmic, moral, or eschatological, and the restoration of them to a state of wholeness", Fitzmyer. Even though the healing / saving event performed on the lame man is still in mind, Luke uses the word here in its more particular theological sense of being rescued from this evil generation, 2:47, so as not to face divine retribution for sin.

en + dat. "in [no one else]" - [there is not] in [any other salvation]. Expressing agency if allw/, "other, another", is taken as masculine, as NIV, "there is salvation through no one else (the person of Jesus)", Berkeley, but if allw/ is taken as neuter (onoma, "name" = authority, is neuter) then the preposition expresses means, "by no other means."

gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why salvation is found in no other person.

onoma "name" - The "name" represents the person and their abilities, power and authority, and although most translations transliterate the Greek text "no other name", the word "person" or "authority" makes more sense. "Salvation is found in no one else except Jesus, for there is no other person under heaven ..."

uJpo + acc. "under [heaven]" - Spacial. The phrase is idiomatic, very similar to the English idiomatic phrase "under the sun." "No one else in all the world", TEV

to dedomenon (didwmi) perf. pas. part. "given" - having been given. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "name", "no other name [under heaven] that has been give .."; "has been granted", REB. Probably a theological / divine passive; "given by God."

en + dat. "to [mankind]" - in [men]. The NIV has assumed that a simple dative was intended, anqrwpoiV, "to men", "to / for men", dative of interest, advantage (the preposition en is missing in MS D and Latin texts). Local, expressing space / sphere is also possible; "among men." Culy suggests that didwmi en may be idiomatic, "to dole out / to distribute", which construction is followed by the dative of advantage "for mankind / people." Whatever the fine points of syntax, the sense is clear enough: "Christ is the only source and ground of salvation available for mankind", Barrett.

en + dat. "by [which]" - Instrumental, expressing means, as NIV.

swqhnai (swzw) aor. pas. inf. "[we must] be saved" - [it is necessary] to be saved. The infinitive "to be saved" serves as the subject of the verb "is necessary"; "to be saved is necessary". Barrett makes the point that the intent is not well expressed. We virtually have a conditional clause where the protasis is not expressed; "if we are to be saved at all, it must be in this way, for there is no other." "Jesus Christ is the only source and ground of salvation available for mankind", Barrett. "It is by this name (person) we must be saved", Phillips.

 

Acts Introduction.

Exposition

 

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