What Shall We Do to These Men

What Shall We Do to These Men?

But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.” And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. (Acts 4:15-18)

I love this scene of the religious leaders in Jerusalem, desperately trying to figure out what to do with the “problem” of the disciples of Jesus. During the days of His earthly ministry, Jesus Himself was a problem for these religious leaders – this same council had a role in sending Jesus to the cross. Yet, even with Jesus Himself no longer walking and teaching and working among the people, they had an even bigger problem with the followers of Jesus.

What Shall We Do to These Men

In their desperation, these important men made a confession regarding the power of Jesus: we cannot deny it. That exposed the corruption of their hearts. They acknowledged that a miracle in the name of Jesus had genuinely happened; yet they refused to submit to the God who worked the miracle.

All they could do was make a threat and hope that the good news of Jesus spreads no further among the people. Their fear of the preaching of the good news of Jesus was rooted in their own sinful self-interest, not in any desire to protect the people.

Notice the note of desperation in the words, What shall we do to these men? It was a problem they couldn’t figure out. These men did not respond to their threats and intimidation. These men knew the way their Lord and Savior Jesus was treated, but were not afraid. These men showed the power of God in and through their life. You can’t defeat men and women who are this committed to Jesus Christ! They were commanded to stop talking about Jesus, but everyone knew they would keep doing it.

There is something else wonderful about this story from Acts 4. We see it in the words, they conferred among themselves. How did Luke know what the council discussed among themselves after the disciples left the room? Luke probably found out because a member of that same council later became a Christian: Saul of Tarsus. Acts 26:10 gives us reason to believe Paul (Saul) was a member of this council, able to cast his voteagainst the early Christians.

If this is true, we can say that Peter and John had no idea they were preaching to a future apostle and one of the greatest missionaries the church would ever see. It is an example of the truth that we have no idea how greatly God can use us.

Click here to read David’s commentary on Acts 4

They Had Been with Jesus

They Had Been with Jesus

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)

Peter and John stood before the council of religious leaders. The powerful men saw the boldness of Peter and John, but they also noticed something else – that they were uneducated and untrained men.

Peter and John were certainly uneducated in one sense – they, like Jesus before them, had no formal rabbinic education according to the customs and standards of that time. Yet they were educated in at least two more important ways: they knew the Scriptures, and they had been with Jesus.

They Had Been with Jesus

That kind of education was more important than the customs and standards of their time. The truth that knowing the Bible and a real relationship with Jesus is more important that formal education and degrees has been proven in the lives of God’s servants again and again. It has been proven true through such servants of God as Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, William Carey, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Hudson Taylor.

Yet it is helpful to remember that God has also used many who were greatly educated. Moses, Daniel, and Paul are all Biblical examples. Augustine, Martin Luther, and Billy Graham are just a few historical examples. It’s just as wrong to think that formal education disqualifies someone for effective service as it is to think that it automatically qualifies someone for effective service.

In Acts 4, the boldness of Peter and John came from the fact that they had been with Jesus, they were naturally bold. When one is a servant of the all-powerful God, he has nothing to fear from the judgment of men.

It is interesting to note what the Jewish leaders did not do: they did not make any attempt to disprove the resurrection of Jesus. If it were possible to do, this was the time to do it. Positive proof that Jesus had not actually risen from the dead would have crushed the early Christian movement. Yet these religious leaders could not disprove the fact of the resurrection.

They realized that they had been with Jesus: This means that the bold exclusivism of Acts 4:12 was coupled with a radiant love characteristic of Jesus. If we will preach no other name we should also make it evident that we have been with Jesus.

Sadly, when Christians became strong and powerful, and when Christianity became an institution – too often Christians were those who arrested people and told them to be quiet, threatening them with violence and sometimes carrying it out against them. That is not evidence that one has been with Jesus.

People should go to Jesus directly, but often they won’t. The only Jesus they will see is the Savior who shines through our life. God helping you, today live in such a way that it will be obvious that you have also been with Jesus.

Click here to read David’s commentary on Acts 4