Acts 4:1-12 The Revival of Pentecost Continues:
“Many Heard and Believed… About 5,000”
Peter, John and the Lame man healed before the Temple Council
1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 being distressed on account of their teaching the people and preaching by Jesus the resurrection from among the dead; 3 and they laid hands on them, and put them in ward till tomorrow; for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the word believed; and the number of the men had become about five thousand.
5 And it came to pass on in the morning that their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together at Jerusalem, 6 and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the high priestly family; 7 and having placed them in the midst they inquired, In what power or in what name have you done this? 8 Then Peter, filled with [the] Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers of the people and elders [of Israel], 9 if *we* this day are called upon to answer as to the good deed to the infirmed man, how he has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you have crucified, whom God has raised from among the dead, by *Him* this man stands here before you sound in body. 11 *He* is the stone which has been set at naught by you the builders, which is become the corner stone. 12 And salvation is in none other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
The public preaching of Peter at the temple is so compelling that as many as heard the Word, believed.
(LOGOS: Heard Jesus through Peter’s anointing – as in the miracle of tongues: each one heard Jesus in their own language! When Jesus is in our midst and we speak, witness, preach or prophesy then the hearer will hear Jesus. As in the Bread and the Wine – First, He opens our eyes to recognize Him; in this case the man lame from birth is healed instantly before their eyes and Second He opens our ears to hear His voice through the voice of those He speaks through; in this case Peter and in the silence of John they hear His heartbeat.)
The number of men (alone) who saw, heard and believed was 5,000!
The events were so compelling that the Temple leaders including Caiaphas came and arrested Peter and John (and the Lame man healed?) overnight. The religious leaders were ‘stressed out’ about the effect this one miracle was having. More and more people came running to see the miracle and then hear the message behind it being given to Peter by the Holy Spirit. (Like Jesus, ‘no one ever spoke like these men’; ‘are not they Galileans, mere fishermen?’)
The next morning the entire high priestly family “placed them (Peter and John) ‘in their midst’ (Just as the resurrected Jesus had suddenly appeared in the midst of the disciples Upper Room while Cleophas and Mary told about seeing Jesus in the breaking of the bread.) Now Jesus was appearing in the midst of the same people who accused Him and had Him crucified in the “New Temple” of His Church “where two or more were gathered” Jesus is in the midst! They were emissaries of the Lord’s presence. Now it was “Christ in them, the hope of glory” to which they were now first-hand witnesses. We must understand this early example in the book of Acts because this book was recorded just to illustrate in the many Acts that Jesus did, this principle. Jesus continues His public ministry by the Spirit through those who believe. When the events are eye-opening it is to see the presence, power, life and love of Jesus. When the words are compelling they are messages from heaven in the voice of Jesus that convicts and convinces the heart of the hearer that what they are hearing is from the Lord. Behind the miracles stands Jesus. Behind the words is the Voice of the Lord.
The accusers asked a rather rhetorical question. It was the same line of questioning they used on Jesus, “In what power or what name have you done this (miracle)? They were really more concerned about the numbers of people who were being converted right before their eyes, but they focused on the healing because they were doing this on Temple property. Thousands, perhaps 10,000 to 12,000 if there were 5,000 men. It was a large ‘outdoor revival’ ignited by one miracle. Perhaps today we need to follow the old saying, “One miracle is worth a thousand sermons.”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, (He was on fire) and all John had to do was to stand by him for the love of Jesus poured out just by the way He stood. His fountain was overflowing with the presence of Jesus.
Peter said, “If we are being called upon to account for the wonderful deed of total healing of the man who was lame from birth; then (on the record), let all of Israel know it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene… this man stands here before you perfectly sound, healed and healthy!
In effect Peter is saying, “Jesus is the stone you rejected who has become the chief cornerstone of the New Temple that Jesus aid He would raise up when this temple of brick and mortar is destroyed. The miracle you now see and hear on the grounds of your old Temple at the Gate Beautiful is the revelation of the New Temple made with the living stones of God’s people. The sound of the message being shared and the voices of conversion are the new brick and mortar of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel! Jesus, who you crucified and who God raised from the dead stands here among us and we are his witnesses. He alone brings salvation, forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
There is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth the name Jesus and you will be saved. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will be saved and I will raise them up in the last day.
THE POWER of the Christ centered,
Communion-centric Gospel Lifestyle in the Book of Acts
Acts 4:13-22 they were ASTONISHED and took note:
“These men have been with Jesus!”
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
Maybe Caiaphas was having an awakening. He and the others judging the healing of the man lame from birth just heard Peter preach like a keynote speaker at a synagogue special event! He was articulate, intelligent and appeared to be theologically knowledgeable. He was connecting the dots for the upper echelon of the Temple! What they didn’t know if that Peter was basically so inspired by the Holy Spirit it was like he was speaking in tongues. After the brilliant phrasing came pouring out of his mouth Peter knew that it was the Holy Spirit connecting the dots for ‘the learned of Israel’. In fact, Dr. Luke says, “They were astonished!”
In CommunionFire the Holy Spirit does the same thing. Scriptures and dialog surfaces that connect dots we didn’t even know about before. When Jesus said to me directly, “Follow Me.” I had no idea what roads He would lead me down. This morning it was Jehovah Nissi, “The Lord my Banner.” As overflow from Communion yesterday! His banner over me is love, courage, victory, compassion and understanding. When Jesus raises His banner over you, you know you are at the right campsite!
Peter used words. John just stood and ‘exuded’ Jesus love. You could see it! It was visibly all over him. Peter spoke like a recalcitrant professor! He spoke, grinned at himself as if to say, “Wow! Where did that come from!?” He was enjoying the message of the Holy Spirit as much as anyone else in the judgement hall. The force of victory was so powerful that the judges could not figure out how to punish them except to tell them what they were and were not allowed to say! The response is one familiar to those who encounter Jesus in CommunionFire. We know, like Peter and John, the only thing we can say is, what is real/truth, disclosed/revealed in the light of CommunionFire/His presence when we receive what Jesus has to share with us. Whatever he shows us and tells us defines the parameters of our witness from that specific occurrence! When we share with others what Jesus shares with us we even use hand gestures to explain, “He was standing to my left at about 10 o’clock and He was walking toward me with a big smile and He said, “Today is the day I have made for you”. There is the message. It is Jesus coming to us telling us that He mae this day for us! It was the same with Peter and John.
Rebuffing the intelligencia and the academics of the law and religion by the power of the Holy Spirit Peter responded to their threats by saying, “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard”!
Somewhat embarrassed by Peter’s candor they responded by saying, “Ya know that ole crippled guy that Jesus healed is over 40 years old. Whose gonna remember this anyway. And it was Jesus who healed him not Peter and John…” So, they stopped with their threats and let them go! The resident genius of the Holy Spirit was revealing the power of Jesus to those who had accused, judged and sentenced them before. Game Over! Jehovah-Nissi “Jesus flew His banner of victory over them in the face of the same accusations they used before. But death, sin and hell had been conquered! Now Jesus was ruling through His intercession at the right hand of the Father!
I love how Peter said, “As for us – we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard!” John did not say, “Who’s this ‘we’ you speak of Peter!?” No Peter meant what the Holy Spirit said. John did speak but not with words. Sometimes that speech is more deafening than what may be said!
*Jehovah-Nissi in the Bible Expand. Jehovah my banner, the title given by Moses to the altar which he erected on the hill on the top of which he stood with uplifted hands while Israel prevailed over their enemies the Amalekites. Jesus is our banner of victory that others can see flying over top of us. (Ex. 17:15)
Acts 4:23-31 the Place Was Shaken Where They Gathered in Prayer
They were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke with boldness!
23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.
“Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“ ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
26The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.
27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Released by their captors by persuasion of the Holy Spirit through the witness of Peter, John and the Lame Man healed there was a report to the believers in the New Community. We did as the Lord directed, there was a powerful miracle followed by anointed preaching and we reached 5,000 men in Jerusalem at the Temple. Because of this we were arrested and put in jail overnight. Then upon further questioning we were set free. You should have heard Peter they might have said. He got a British accent and spoke like a fellow at Cambridge or Oxford! When the believers heard the report it was exciting. These men stood in the same spot as Yehoshua Messiah, Jesus Christ the Lord of heaven and earth. In fact Jesus was there with them then and was with them when they shared their witness to the believers.
The excitement quickened the remembrance of Psalm 2. ‘Those that sit in heaven shall laugh’ as ‘earth and religious rulers’ threaten the Lord of Heaven and all His angels and saints. This was the emergence of a new breed. Those born into eternal life suddenly became part of a New Humanity. This humanity finds its life from above not below. This was the breed of mighty warriors and knights from heaven. This was where fishermen become heaven’s statesmen. It is where shepherds become kings. It is where handmaidens become prophetesses and young lions become visionaries standing at the side of archangels and the King of Heaven in the face of those who would take a chance to cast aspersions.
Heathen love to rage based on imagining concepts created in their own vanity. It is like a civilization gone amuck calling the slime of sin a party or rave and those who pray the scum of the earth. It is a world turned upside down by the domination of self-righteousness creating its own royalty. “The kings of the earth set themselves against the Lord and his anointed.” Man thinks by having an election they can determine their own rules as the law when what has really happened is that the Law of God becomes a floodlight that reveals their sin and arrogance. Rather than bowing in humility and repentance they actually ‘legalize what is convenient for a sinful lifestyle.’ Then in their self-righteous arrogance their leaders “kings” set up accusations and courtrooms to arrest, persecute and kill those who declare the Goodness and mercy of the Gospel to all who will call upon Him who has paid the price for all arrogance and sin.
The Church on its knees is a force that no army on earth can overcome. Those who bow before the Lord make a way for the Lord to arrive with the hosts of heaven to rule over all wickedness and overcome all who hate, kill, steal and destroy. The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters. Heaven’s tsunami is born on the waves of prayer and will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
He Church cries out with a fire ignited by the Holy Spirit conducted by the intercession of Jesus at the right hand of the Father,
“Lord consider their threats!
Enable your servants to declare your word with great boldness!
Stretch out your hand to heal and
Perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Game On! The heart of the Church in each individual believer is now beating with the hearts of the Holy Spirit and Jesus before the Father’s throne by virtue of Jesus position next to Him.
The voice of the Church is also the voice of the Lord. The prayer of the Church is shaped by the words of the Holy Spirit. In Communion believers learn how to ‘kiss the ground of the presence of Jesus’ (This is literally the definition for true worship!) We kiss the presence of Jesus when we pray and what we pray is brought to our lips by the voice of the Holy Spirit. Praying ‘with the Lord’ will always get a response from heaven. So how did God respond?
The place where they were praying was shaken
Perhaps by the winds of heaven again like the moment when
The Holy Spirit first arrived on the day of Pentecost!
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (again).
And they all spoke the word of God with boldness!
The Church knew that it was Jesus that was being persecuted. They prayed to be the powerful witnesses that only the Holy Spirit could empower them to be. They knew they were helpless on their own. And they prayed that Jesus would stretch forth His hand to heal as He had done at the Temple for the man lame from birth. They also prayed that the Holy Spirit would perform signs and wonders in the name of the holy servant Jesus. (that is, to bring everyone’s focus, believers, non-believers and those who persecuted them onto Jesus and the name of Jesus and no other man.)
Acts 4:32-37 the Witness Becomes a Tangible Lifestyle Reality
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
36 Joseph (which means “to add strength”), a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
All the believers were of one heart and one mind. How is this possible?
After the resurrected Jesus shows up in your heart he also begins to manifest Himself in your house and on your land. It is the response of worship to give the Lord all you possess so that it can no longer possess you!
You no longer want anything to interfere with your relationship with Jesus. It is identical with all other true believers. It becomes so powerful everyone lays down all they possess at the feet of the Lord by physically giving the deeds and treasures to the Apostles. The King and his Kingdom have now become so tangible that they were of one heart and mind even about laying down all their possessions. Like those in Matthew 13 when Jesus said what the Kingdom of heaven is like, they sold everything to own the field where they found the Kingdom. They sold all to buy the pearl of great price. This measure of revelation is revealed in three chapters of Matthew 10-12. The Kingdom of Jesus has a powerful cause and effect. The cause is the persuasiveness of His love. The effect is that it will divide you from relationships, possessions, the Law, guilt and religion. The division is caused by the great gulf that exists between that which is temporal and eternal; that which is natural and super natural; that which is earthly and heavenly and that which is real and everything else.
After Jesus described his Kingdom as being divisive when it comes to what is real and eternal versus what is unnecessary and temporal and then judged Capernaum, Bethsaida and Chorazin and said “Come to me and ‘I will give you rest’ and ‘you will find rest for your souls.’ ” Matthew 10-12. Jesus came to give us rest in His grace from the condemnation and weight of sin from the imposition of the Law. He draws to Himself those that know the Law is too heavy to carry.
He gives and we find. “We find” (discover by revelation from the Holy Spirit) when we come to Jesus in the same humility and gentleness that He shows us. In Chapter 12 Jesus heals the man at the Temple with the withered hand and confronts or ‘divides away’ the religious leaders and their determination to condemn by withdrawing from them and healing ALL who were sick who followed Him. Jesus separates Himself from those who imply the Law of the Sabbath is more important than the Lord of the Sabbath. He then heals the man possessed by demons that make Him blind and mute. He is accused of being a prince of demons and when asked for a sign He says I will only give you one sign. It is the sign of Jonas speaking of his resurrection.
He then says who is my mother and my brothers and my sisters? He says those who know Him well enough to do what His love demonstrates. He does the will of His Father and after Pentecost we follow the revelation given by the Holy Spirit.
So when the King of kings comes into your house nothing else matters. His love brings us to our knees and we offer anything that can distract us from His love. Love reduces this life to what it is. Our life is given so that we might give it back to the Lord when our eyes are opened to see His glory and hear His gentle voice.
With great power the Apostles continued to share their 1st Hand Witness to the reality of the presence of King Jesus as resurrected Lord who is enthroned in their hearts and who reaches out through them to continue to heal. The Holy Spirit was so powerful and the grace of Jesus so real that everyone shared everything they had with others – to all who had needs. There were no more rich and poor. There was no more ‘haves and have nots’. They were sharing the heart and mind of Christ. They were of one heart and one mind. It was the heart of Jesus beating inside each one of them. They all knew what He looked like and what He sounded like. In Communion with Jesus they found Communion and Community with one another. There was no doubt that this small nation of believers were under the rule of Jesus, the Servant King and all His subjects imitated Him and worshiped Him.
One man was selected to detail what was happening with everybody. Joseph Barnabus (whose combined names mean “To add strength as a son of encouragement”. He was so inspired and encouraged by the reality of Jesus that He encountered in Communion and in the powerful witness of the Apostles that he became a son of encouragement! He took all the land He owned, sold it and laid it down at the Apostles’ feet as a demonstration to His King Jesus that the only thing he wanted was to be possessed by eternal life in the company of all who shared this same desire. His hunger and thirst for Jesus was enough to divide him from all that he used to think was important.
Barnabas could have tried to describe his feelings the same way the prophet Isaiah described what He saw and declared. He was ‘no longer blind or mute’ – for the Lord opened his eyes and put His fire in his mouth by a coal from His Alter) We could hear Barnabas, Isaiah or any of us trying to describe Jesus:
In Matthew 12 when quoting the prophet Isaiah 42:1-4:
Jesus is The Servant King
18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
until He has brought justice to full victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”