Acts 3-5

The signs and wonders of the apostles hit the public square in the temple, when Peter heals a lame man. When people notice, he seizes the opportunity to preach the same message, again quoting heavily from the Old Testament. He appeals to their covenant status before God as sons of the prophets as grounds for their need to repent and listen to the Prophet Jesus. The temple rulers catch wind of it and inquire, and Peter preaches the sermon again, this time to the very men who condemned Jesus, and covered up His resurrection. Notice that though Peter acknowledges their authority to judge, he convicts them of their sin and tells them that the apostles answer to a higher authority. They again officially reject Jesus by forbidding the apostles to speak in His name. The disciples gather and again see Scripture fulfilled in this - Psalm 2. A further break with Old Testament temple Judaism may be seen in vss 34, 36, where disciples - even Levites - are selling their land and bringing it not to the priests (Leviticus 27) but to the apostles. They are the new mediators/rulers of God's people, not the Sadducees. This is proven by the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira.

Growth of the Church escalates the situation; the Sadducees get jealous as the Church grows. This time they imprison all the apostles, but they respond the same: preaching and saying they have to obey God before them. Gamaliel, a prominent Pharisee, uses his position to temper the Sanhedrin's opposition to the Church.

1. Have you ever had opportunity to bear witness to Jesus before what you knew to be a hostile audience? Will you have it again? Use this speech as a model to imitate in preparing to give an answer for the hope that is in you. Rejoice to know that you are imitating Jesus in His being rejected by men.

2. Do you trust your church leaders to distribute wisely your tithes and offerings?

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