As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”
Last week we talked about the various sources for approval of those seeking it in the world, in religion, and in Christ. This week we will apply the same concept to power. As we will see this week, each of these sources for power comes together for us in a story from Acts 4.
Acts 4 is a response to a healing that happened in Acts 3. Peter and John healed a disabled beggar and were brought to trial by the religious leaders because of what happened. The disciples were not conventionally powerful men, so the council wanted to know how these acts had taken place. The council was using its power to try and put the disciples in their place. To the Sanhedrin these disciples were nobodies, ordinary men who had assumed religious authority to which they were not entitled. Therefore, they used their power to imprison Peter and John.
This is the way of the religious elite. They used their superior credentials, authority, and power to intimidate the disciples. Ironically, Peter and John were jailed for the power they found in Jesus (v. 7). In this story, religious power challenged the power of Christ. Yet when these two sources of power come against one another, Christ will always win.
- Why were the religious leaders unable to see the true power that comes from Christ?
- When have your traditions and preferences actually kept you from seeing something Jesus was doing right in front of you?
- Praise God for the power of Christ, which is greater than the power in the world.