SO THE CRIPPLED MAN HAS JUST BEEN HEALED! IT’S STILL THE SAME DAY, AND PETER IS STILL EXPLAINING TO THE CROWDS ABOUT THE HEALING (AND NO DOUBT ANSWERING MANY QUESTIONS). NOW A GROWING ASSEMBLY OF EXCITED AND AMAZED JEWS ARE DRAWING THE ATTENTION OF THE TEMPLE AUTHORITIES WHO WERE ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT FOR TROUBLE.
1Peter and John were still talking to the people (AFTER THE MIRACLE OF THE LAME MAN WALKING), when some Priests, the Captain of the Temple Guard (POLICE), and some Sadducees arrived. 2These men were furious because Peter and John were teaching the people that the dead would be raised up (after physical death) just as Yahusha had been raised from the dead.
THOSE WHO RAN THE TEMPLE HELD THEIR POSITIONS ONLY BECAUSE THE ROMANS PERMITTED IT, SO THEY WORKED HARD TO MAKE SURE NO UNREST WOULD ENDANGER THEIR HIGHLY PROFITABLE OCCUPATIONS. THE PRIESTS, THE TEMPLE POLICE, AND THE SADDUCEES WERE FURIOUS BECAUSE PETER WAS TEACHING THE PEOPLE ABOUT THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, WITH YAHUSHA AS THE PROOF AND FORERUNNER OF THEIR BELIEF.
WE SHOULD REMEMBER THAT THESE TEMPLE AUTHORITIES WERE THE SAME ONES WHO HAD JUST WEEKS EARLIER SENTENCED YAHUSHA TO DEATH AND TURNED HIM OVER TO PONTIUS PILATE. SO SINCE THE MOOD OF THE TIMES WAS ONE OF GREAT EXCITEMENT AND THE EXPECTATION OF A MESSIAH TO THROW OFF THE OPPRESSIVE ROMAN RULE THAT THE JEWS HATED, YERUSHALIM WAS ALWAYS JUST ONE SPARK AWAY FROM A SERIOUS RIOT.
THE KEY PLAYERS COMING AGAINST YAHUSHA'S DISCIPLES :
SADDUCEES - PHARISEES - ESSENES
These dudes are mentioned alot in Acts, so let's briefly find out who they are:
THE SADDUCEESWERE ARISTOCRATS FROM WEALTHY FAMILIES (NO LONGER FROM THE LINE OF AARON AS COMMANDED) AND WERE IN CHARGE OF THE TEMPLE AND ITS PRIESTHOOD, AND AT THIS TIME THE HIGH PRIESTS AND THE CHIEF PRIESTS WERE ALL SADDUCEES.
THE PHARISEESWERE CONNECTED TO THE SYNAGOGUE SYSTEM, AND HAD CREATED THE ORAL TORAH, (A WHOLE LOT OF TRADITIONS THAT HEAVILY CHANGED THE MEANING OF THE LAWS OF MOSES, TO SUIT THEMSELVES). REMEMBER YAHUSHA BRANDED THEM AS VIPERS AND CONSTANTLY CAME AGAINST THEIR MAN-MADE TRADITIONS.
THE SADDUCEES AGREED WITH YAHUSHA ON THEIR HATRED OF THE TRADITIONS AND REFUSED TO ACCEPT ANYTHING BUT THE HISTORICAL WRITTEN LAWS OF MOSES IN THE TORAH. BECAUSE IT WAS THE RIVAL PHARISEES AND THE SYNAGOGUE SYSTEM THAT HAD CREATED THESE ORAL TORAH TRADITIONS, THEY WEREN’T ABOUT TO ADOPT THEM.
SO THE SYNAGOGUE (PHARISEES) AND THE TEMPLE (SADDUCEES) WERE RIVAL SYSTEMS, EACH WITH THEIR OWN SEPARATE AUTHORITY STRUCTURES, AND THE ESSENES WANTED NO PART OF EITHER, BELIEVING THEM ALL CORRUPT. SHORTLY THE ROMANS WOULD DESTROY YERUSHALIM AND THE TEMPLE, MEANING THE PRIESTS WERE OUT OF A JOB.
SO THE SADDUCEES OVERNIGHT BECAME A RELIC AS THEY LOST THEIR POWER AND AUTHORITY (THE TEMPLE AND PRIESTHOOD). THEN THE PHARISEES BECAME THE RABBIS AS THE SYNAGOGUE SYSTEM LIVED ON, AND TRADITION AND ORAL TORAH WERE IN TIME WRITTEN DOWN INTO AN AUTHORITATIVE WORK CALLED THE MISHNAH, WHICH ITSELF TURNED INTO THE SOURCE DOCUMENT FOR HALAKAH, RABBINIC LAW, THAT ALL JEWS ARE STILL EXPECTED TO OBSERVE. RABBIS NOW RULED JUDAISM WITHOUT OPPOSITION OR COMPETITION (EXCEPT AMONG THEMSELVES) AND SO IT IS TO THIS DAY.
3It was already late in the afternoon, so they arrested Peter and John and put them in jail for the night. 4But a lot of people who had heard the message believed it. So by now there were about 5,000 followers of YAHUSHA. 5The next morning the Rulers, Elders, and Scribes (teachers of the Law of Moses) met in Yerushalim. 6The High Priest Annas was there, as well as Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other members of the High Priest's family.
SO THOSE WHO CAME TO ARREST PETER AND PAUL BORE THE GREATEST LEGAL AUTHORITY IN JUDEA OTHER THAN FOR THE ROMAN PROCURATOR PONTIUS PILATE, INDICATING JUST HOW SERIOUSLY THEY TOOK THIS MATTER OF RESURRECTION THEOLOGY AND CALLING ON THE NAME OF YAHUSHA ESPECIALLY AS ONE WHO WAS RESURRECTED (AND TO THIS THERE WERE MANY WITNESSES).
7They brought in Peter and John and made them stand in the middle while they questioned them, asking, “BY WHAT POWER AND IN WHAT NAME HAVE YOU DONE THIS?”
THE MIRACLE WASN’T AN ISSUE; IT WAS THE THEOLOGY THAT MATTERED TO THE SADDUCEES. TO THE MINDS OF THE JEWS THE HEALING OF AN INDIVIDUAL WAS SOMETHING BEYOND THE NATURAL POWER OF A HUMAN BEING. SO THE SANHEDRIN WANTED TO KNOW IF THIS PARTICULAR HEALING MIGHT HAVE BEEN SORCERY OR PERHAPS EVEN BLASPHEMY (THAT IS, HEALING DONE IN THE NAME OF A FALSE PAGAN DEITY). RECALL THAT YAHUSHA WAS ACCUSED OF PERFORMING MIRACLES BY THE POWER OF BEELZEBUB, THE DEVIL ALSO.
8Then Peter was filled with Yahusha’s Spirit and said, “Rulers and Leaders of Yisharal, 9You are questioning us today about a kind deed in which a man who could not walk was healed. 10But there is something we must tell you and everyone else in Yisharal. This man is standing here completely well because of the power of YAHUSHA from Nazareth.
(THEY KNEW FULL WELL WHO HE WAS FOR THEY THOUGHT ALL THEIR PROBLEMS WERE OVER NOW THAT THEY'D PUT HIM TO DEATH & LIED ABOUT HIS RESURRECTION).
You put YAHUSHA to death on a torture stake, but YAHUAH raised Him back to life. 11He is the stone you builders rejected, and now He's the most important stone of all … the chief cornerstone! *(REF TO PSALM 118) 12AND THERE IS NO DELIVERANCE IN ANYONE ELSE, FOR THERE IS NO OTHER NAME UNDER THE HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN BY WHICH WE NEED TO BE DELIVERED".
A FOUNDATIONAL NON-NEGOTIABLE FIRST-PRINCIPLE: WRONG NAME - WRONG SPIRIT - NO DELIVERANCE !!
THIS WAS NO POLITE ORATORY BY PETER - HE INSTANTLY WENT FOR THE JUGULAR. PETER (WHO IS SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE WITNESS STAND TO DEFEND HIMSELF) HAS GONE ON THE OFFENSIVE, EVEN TELLING THE SANHEDRIN THAT WHAT THEY DID TO YAHUSHA, WAS OBVIOUSLY AGAINST YAHUAH’S WILL SINCE HE UNDID IT ALL RIGHT IN THEIR FACES!
WHEN WE’RE TOLD THAT PETER WAS 'FILLED WITH THE SET-APART SPIRIT', IT MEANS THAT HE WAS GIVEN SPECIAL DIVINE INSPIRATION FOR WHAT HE WAS ABOUT TO SAY OR DO. I'M CERTAIN THAT PETER REMEMBERED AND WAS COMFORTED BY THE WORDS OF HIS MASTER (IN MATT 10:18) AND SO FULLY EXPECTED TO BE 'FILLED WITH HIS SPIRIT' :
"ON MY ACCOUNT YOU WILL BE BROUGHT BEFORE GOVERNORS AND KINGS AS A TESTIMONY TO THEM AND TO THE NATIONS. BUT WHEN THEY BRING YOU TO TRIAL, DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT TO SAY OR HOW TO SAY IT, FOR WHEN THE TIME COMES, YOU WILL BE GIVEN THR WORDS TO SAY. FOR IT WILL NOT BE JUST YOU SPEAKING, BUT THE SPIRIT OF YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER SPEAKING THROUGH YOU".
WASHED IN THE WATER OF THE WORD
YAHUSHA IS NOT SAYING THAT HIS DISCIPLES (OR US) SHOULD IGNORE PREPARATION WHEN GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK YAHUAH’S WORD OR TO SPEAK ABOUT THE GOOD NEWS IN WITNESS OF HIM. THIS IS NOT A CALL TO “WING IT”. THE 12 DISCIPLES (TO WHOM HE WAS SPEAKING) WERE WITH YAHUSHA DAY AND NIGHT AND SO WERE BEING CONSTANTLY TAUGHT ABOUT THE SET-APART SCRIPTURES FROM THE MOUTH OF YAHUSHA HIMSELF. THEY WERE IN AS INTENSE A TEACHING ENVIRONMENT (FOR AS MUCH AS 3 YEARS) THAT WE SCARCELY IMAGINE. AS WE SEE HERE IN ACTS, AND THROUGHOUT THE NEW BLOOD-COVENANT, THESE MEN HAD NO SPECIAL HIGHER LEARNING (ALL HIGHER LEARNING AMONG THE JEWS WAS ONLY RELIGIOUS EDUCATION), YET COULD QUOTE SCRIPTURE BEAUTIFULLY AND IN THE PROPER CONTEXT, AND ABLE TO DISCERN SUFFICIENTLY HOW TO PROPERLY APPLY THE APPROPRIATE PASSAGES TO THE APPROPRIATE CIRCUMSTANCES.
THE DISCIPLES DIDN’T HAVE THE LUXURY OF HAVING SCRIPTURES TO CARRY AROUND OR REFER TO AS WE DO. YAHUSHA DIDN’T EVEN HAVE A TANAKH (O.T) AND DIDN’T HAVE SCRIPTURE SCROLLS TO TEACH HIS STUDENTS FROM (EXCEPT OCCASIONALLY PERHAPS IN A SYNAGOGUE). MEMORY AND PRACTICE, INFUSED WITH SPIRIT EMPOWERMENT....MUCH TIME AND EFFORT.... WAS NEEDED TO BE ABLE TO REMEMBER AND PULL UP THOSE DIVINE WORDS WHEN CALLED UPON.
SO FOR US, UPON COMING TO REPENTANCE AND AFTER BEING IMMERSED IN WATER (TO RECEIVE YAHUSHA'S SPIRIT AND POWER WITHIN) WE MUST IMMEDIATELY BE IMMERSED, WASHED AND CLEANSED BY THE WATER OF YAHUAH’S WORD. OTHERWISE ALL WE’LL KNOW IS WHAT OTHERS TELL US, AND OFTEN THAT AMOUNTS TO BUMPER STICKER SAYINGS OR DOCTRINES THAT MIGHT WELL BE TRUE (OFTEN NOT), BUT COME WITHOUT AN UNDERLYING FOUNDATION FOR UNDERSTANDING WHAT WE’VE HEARD OR HOW TO APPLY IT TO OUR LIVES AND BEHAVIOUR (ABSTRACT PERSONAL CONTEXT THROUGH THE SPIRIT).
THESE 12 DISCIPLES WHO WERE OFTEN ACCUSED OF BEING COMMON PEOPLE OF THE LAND, AND PEOPLE OF LITTLE WIT OR SYSTEMATIC EDUCATION, COULD CONFOUND AND INTELLIGENTLY RESPOND TO KINGS, EVEN TORAH-TEACHERS, UNDER THE MOST STRESSFUL CIRCUMSTANCES. IT WAS BECAUSE A) THEY KNEW YAHUAH’S WORD, AND B) THEY HAD THE SET-APART SPIRIT TO GUIDE THEM.
IF WE DON'T FEED THE IMPLANTED SEED WITH THE WATER OF YAHUAH'S WORD, WE WILL GO MENTAL AND DIE !
PETER WAS QUOTING PSALM 118: "GIVE THANKS TO YAHUAH; FOR HE IS GOOD, FOR HIS FAVOUR CONTINUES FOREVER. NOW LET YISHARAL SAY, 'HIS FAVOUR CONTINUES FOREVER.' NOW LET THE HOUSE OF AARON SAY, 'HIS FAVOUR CONTINUES FOREVER.' NOW LET THOSE WHO FEAR YAHUAH SAY, 'HIS FAVOUR CONTINUES FOREVER' … YAHUAH IS MY STRENGTH AND MY SONG, AND HE HAS BECOME MY DELIVERANCE …THE VERY ROCK THAT THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CORNERSTONE!
YAHUSHA SPOKE OF THIS PSALM IN MARK 12 AND IT WAS CLEAR TO THOSE AROUND HIM THAT HE WAS SAYING THAT HE WAS THE ROCK AND THE CORNERSTONE FROM PSALM 118.
"YAHUSHA SAID 'HAVEN'T YOU READ THE PASSAGE THAT SAYS, 'THE VERY ROCK WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CORNERSTONE! THIS HAS COME FROM YAHUAH, AND IN OUR EYES IT'S AMAZING'?" AND THEY SET OUT TO ARREST HIM, FOR THEY KNEW THAT HE'D TOLD THE PARABLE WITH REFERENCE TO THEM. BUT THEY WERE AFRAID OF THE CROWD, SO THEY LEFT HIM AND WENT AWAY".
SO PETER’S USE OF “THE ROCK WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED” (REFERRING TO YAHUSHA) WAS BOTH ACCURATE AND INFLAMMATORY BECAUSE IF WE HAD READ THE LAST FEW VERSES OF MARK 11 WE WOULD HAVE SEEN THAT WHEN YAHUSHA SPOKE THESE WORDS, HE WAS IN THE TEMPLE COURTS, (THE PROVINCE OF THE SADDUCEES). SO THE “THEY” WHO WERE ABOUT TO ARREST YAHUSHA FOR SAYING THAT HE WAS THE ROCK AND CORNERSTONE WERE THE SADDUCEES.
AND NOW PETER STANDS BEFORE THE VERY SAME PEOPLE AND USES THIS EXACT SAME PSALM IN THE EXACT SAME CONTEXT, PRONOUNCING THE SAME MAN YAHUSHA, AS THE STONE THE BUILDERS REJECTED. BUT HE ALSO ACCUSES THE SADDUCEES AS THE BUILDERS WHO DID THE REJECTING !!
13And the officials were amazed to see how bold Peter and John were, and they knew that these two men were only ordinary men and not well-educated, but they knew that they’d walked with YAHUSHA. 14And seeing the man standing there completely healed, they could not deny what had happened.
THE FIRST REACTION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE SANHEDRIN WAS SURPRISE THAT THESE PRESUMABLY UNEDUCATED MEN COULD SPEAK WITH SUCH GRAVITAS AND AUTHORITY. THEIR ACCENTS AND THEIR DRESS GAVE THEM AWAY THAT THEY WERE SIMPLE GALILEANS, AND THEY ALSO REMEMBERED THAT THESE TWO (PETER AND JOHN) WERE CONSTANT COMPANIONS WITH YAHUSHA (ALSO A GALILEAN).
15So the officials commanded them to leave the council room, before saying to each other, 16“What can we do with these men? Everyone in Yerushalim knows about this miracle, and we cannot say it didn't happen.17But to keep this thing from spreading, we will warn them never again to speak to anyone about the name of YAHUSHA.”18So they called Peter and John back in and told them they must never, for any reason, teach anything about the Name of YAHUSHA.
IMAGINE! THE LEADERS OF THE RELIGION OF THE JEWS ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO STOP ANY MORE PEOPLE FROM BEING HEALED IN THE NAME OF YAHUSHA BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T AUTHORISE IT, DON’T CONTROL IT, AND SO DON’T GET CREDIT FOR IT. ANY GOOD POLITICIAN CAN PERFECTLY UNDERSTAND THEIR THINKING.
19But Peter and John answered, “Do you think YAHUSHA wants us to obey you or to obey Him? 20We cannot keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard.”21-22The officials couldn’t find any reason (NOT FOR LACK OF TRYING) to punish Peter and John. So they threatened them and let them go, for the crowd was stirred up around them, since the man who was healed by this miracle was more than 40 years old, and everyone was praising YAHUAH for what’d happened.
23As soon as Peter and John had been set free, they went back and told the others everything the Chief Priests and Rulers had said to them. 24And when the rest of YAHUSHA’S followers heard this, they lifted up their voices to YAHUSHA, rejoicing and praying together, saying “YAHUAH you are our Alahim, Who created the heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. 25And by your Set-Apart Spirit you spoke to our ancestor David. He was your servant, and You told him to say: “Why do the Gentiles rage with fury? Why do people make foolish plans? 26The Kings of earth prepare for war, and the rulers join together against YAHUAH and His Messiah”.
27Here in Yerushalim, Herod and Pontius Pilate got together with the Gentiles and the people of Yisharal. Then they turned against your Set-Apart Servant YAHUSHA, Your chosen Messiah. 28They did what you (in Your power and wisdom) had already decided would happen. 29YAHUAH, listen to their threats! We’re your servants, so give us the boldness to speak Your message. 30Show Your mighty power, as we heal people and work miracles and wonders in the Name of your Set-Apart Servant YAHUSHA”.
SO PETER SEES PSALM 2 AS A PROPHECY ABOUT THE MESSIAH, AND SAYS THAT THIS HAS BEEN FULFILLED IN THE PERSONS OF HEROD AND PONTIUS PILATE, ALONG WITH BOTH GENTILES AND THE PEOPLES OF YISHARAL (MEANING JEWS IN A BROAD SENSE BUT IN REALITY THOSE WHO FORMED THE SANHEDRIN).
31And after they had prayed, the meeting place shook and they were all filled with the Set-Apart Spirit and bravely spoke YAHUAH's message. 32The community of followers were of one mind and all felt the same way about everything. None of them claimed that their possessions were their own, and they shared everything they had with each other. 33In a powerful way they told everyone that YAHUSHA had been resurrected from the dead and was now alive for their deliverance. And YAHUSHA greatly blessed His followers, 34and no one went in need of anything. Everyone who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money 35to YAHUSHA’S followers, who would give the money to anyone in need.
36-37Joseph was one of the followers who had sold a piece of property and brought the money to YAHUSHA’S followers. He was a Levite from Cyprus, and they called him Barnabas, which means “one who encourages others.”
THE PRIESTHOOD WAS AT THIS TIME NOT OPERATING (AT ALL) ACCORDING TO THE TORAH REGULATIONS, BUT INSTEAD IT WENT BY MAN-MADE TRADITIONS. LEVITES LIKE JOSEPH WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO OWN LAND. LEVITES HAD BEEN GIVEN CITIES TO LIVE IN, SO IT IS APPARENT THAT OTHER THAN FOR SOME OF THE RITUAL PROCEDURES, THE LEVITICAL LAWS CONCERNING LEVITES AND PRIESTS HAD BECOME ABANDONED BY YAHUSHA’S ERA.
BOLDNESS MEANS 'FREE AND FEARLESS CONFIDENCE'.(THERE'S NO FEAR IN PERFECT LOVE) ... AND WHEN WE UNDERSTAND WHAT HAS JUST HAPPENED TO PETER AND JOHN WITH THEIR ARREST AND THE THREATS FROM THE SANHEDRIN TO NEVER SPEAK OF THE NAME YAHUSHA AGAIN, WE CAN UNDERSTAND WHY THESE ORDINARY EVERYDAY BELIEVING JEWS NEEDED TO BE DIVINELY FILLED WITH FEARLESS CONFIDENCE.
THIS SAME SPIRIT OF FEARLESS CONFIDENCE HAS BEEN POURED INTO US ... BUT ARE WE WILLING TO ACTIVATE IT AND FLOW WITH YAHUSHA TO SEE REVIVAL AROUND US ?