Peter and John Before the Sanhedrim.
The Trial Before the Sanhedrim.
The Counsel of the Sanhedrists.
Their Charge to Peter and John.
The Appeal of Peter and John to the Higher Law.
The Meeting of the Church for Prayer.
The Divine Blessing.
1. As they spake. Peter and John were both speaking, to separate
The priests. Those of the course then on duty in the temple.
See notes on
The captain of the temple. The head of the temple police, who
were composed of Levites, and whose duty it was to guard the sacred
And the Sadducees. See notes on
They were rationalists, and denied the resurrection of the dead. Annas
and Caiaphas, the ex-high priest and the acting high priest, were of
the sect, and hence, though the sect was not numerous, it was now very
2. Being grieved. There were three classes of assailants:
priests, military, and Sadducees. They had three grounds for
action: that Peter and John taught the people, that they taught
in the name of Christ,
and that they bore witness of the resurrection. The last
doctrine, of the resurrection, uprooted the creed of the Sadducees.
While Jesus lived, his assailants were chiefly Pharisees; when his
apostles began to preach his resurrection the Sadducees came to the
front as his chief opposers. This will be noted throughout Acts.
3. Put them in hold. In prison until the next day, for it was
now late in the evening.
4. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed. Became
converts. This (believed) is a usual scriptural expression for the
whole change wrought by belief. "Faith comes by hearing . . .
the word of God"
and faith leads to obedience.
The number of the men was about five thousand. It is probable
that the meaning is that the number of men was now increased to five
thousand. The term in the Greek (andres) does not properly
include women, so that this is the number of
male believers. It is probable that most of the converts of Pentecost
and of this occasion were men. Oriental women were not likely to
attend in large numbers on such public occasions.
5. Their rulers, and elders, and scribes. A meeting of the
Sanhedrim, the great council of seventy, is meant. These classes, with
the priests named in the
constituted it. The members of the Sanhedrim were usually called
rulers; the elders were old men, selected for the place
on account of wisdom; the scribes were the lawyers, or
6. Annas the high priest. Still so called, though deposed ten
years before by the Romans. The Jews held him still as high priest by
Caiaphas. Son-in-law of Annas, and the high priest now in office
by Roman appointment.
John and Alexander. No doubt great men at the time, but we know
nothing of them.
Kindred of the high priest. Of the family of Annas, all of
priestly rank, and many of them holding high offices. The Sanhedrim
usually met in a hall of the temple.
7. Set them in the midst. The high priest acted as president,
and the members were arranged in a semi-circle around him, with the
prisoners in front.
By what power? They could not deny the miracle, but they thought
that it had been done by some incantation. They ask an explanation.
8. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit. They had been
promised the Divine help when put on trial
(Matt. 10:19, 20).
It was now given. Here was an opportunity to preach Christ to the very
body that had sent him to death.
9. If we this day be examined of the good deed. Observe Peter's
point, that they are prisoners on trial for a good deed.
10. By the name of Jesus Christ. It was the power of that one
whom that very court had condemned which had wrought the miracle.
Whom ye crucified. Peter becomes the accuser. They, his
accusers, have been guilty of crucifying the Messiah. They crucified
him, but God raised him from the dead.
11. This is the stone which was set at nought. Quoted from
A figure drawn from a building where a rejected, despised stone is the
most important and indispensable stone of the structure. Christ quoted
the same passage, applied to himself
12. Salvation in none other. No other Savior but Jesus; no
salvation if his is rejected; no other name or power to save from
destruction, unless he is accepted. Why, then, should men invoke the
Virgin, or the saints?
13, 14. Perceived that they were unlearned. Not educated in the
schools of the rabbins. They had, however, a better learning.
They had been with Jesus. In them the crucified Jesus stands
before them, fearless as their Master.
Beholding the man. He was the unimpeachable proof of the
15. When they had commanded them to go aside. They sent them
from their presence in order that they might confer freely together.
The substance of their deliberations is condensed and reported. The
conclusion they arrived at was, not to punish them for a miracle that
all the people knew had taken place, but to stop their preaching by
19. Whether it be right in the sight of God. They appeal to the
higher law. Their earthly government commanded them not to do what God
had directed them to do. In a conflict of this kind there is only one
course, that is, to obey God.
20. We cannot but speak. Are under a moral and spiritual
obligation to speak. They had a Divine message, and must tell it.
21, 22. Let them go. With threats, afraid to punish them lest they
should exasperate the people.
Above forty years old. Therefore known to everybody as a
23. Came to their own company. To the body of Christians
assembled together, and there reported what had taken place.
24. Lifted up their voice to God with one accord. All engaged in
prayer. It was a time of trial. They were forbidden, under awful
threats, to preach Christ.
Hence they go to God.
25. Why did the heathen rage? Quoted from the
The predicted facts were all fulfilled in the trial and death of
shows how they were fulfilled.
28. To do whatsoever . . . thy counsel determined before
to be done. It is not said that God decreed that Pilate, Herod and
the rulers should do what they did, but that they did what God had
decreed should be done. It was God's will that Christ should die, but
they chose, of their own malignity, to slay him. Their will was
29, 30. And now, Lord, . . . grant. Note their
petition. They do not ask to be saved from pain, persecution, or death.
There is nothing asked for themselves personally, but they ask (1) that
they may have boldness, in the face of threats, to speak the word, and
(2) that God would bear them witness by gifts of miraculous power.
Their prayer is all for the work's sake.
31. The place was shaken. As a sensible evidence that their
prayer was granted, and then
they were filled with the Holy Spirit, as on Pentecost, so
inspired that all fear was shaken off.
32-35. The multitude of them that believed. All the church.
Of one heart and soul. Perfectly united as one body and with one
Neither said any of them. Note the language that follows. It
does not describe a community of goods, but a miraculous benevolence:
(1) the goods were
not a common fund, but each one had goods that he possessed; (2)
he did not say that his goods were his own; (3) they used all as
if it belonged to all; (4) there were none that lacked, for (5) those
that had houses and lands sold them and brought the proceeds to the
apostles. It was a time when a great liberality was called for.
Thousands of Jews from abroad had become Christians and must remain at
Jerusalem until instructed in the gospel. It was a great emergency, and
the church was equal to it, for they brought money, goods, and the
proceeds of houses and lands to sustain those who lacked. This
continued until God was ready to send them forth, and when the
persecution arose about Stephen they "went everywhere preaching the
36, 37. Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas. His
name was Joses; but the apostles from some feature of his character
called him Barnabas, "the son of exhortation" (see Revision).
A Levite. Of the sacred tribe.
Of the country of Cyprus. The famous island of the
Mediterranean. He and Paul afterwards carried the gospel there.
Having land. Possibly a possession somewhere in Judea. See
Deut. 10:8, 9.
As a Levite, Barnabas would have rights in the Levitical possessions.
This is the first mention of this celebrated companion of Paul's
missionary labors. He next appears on a mission to Antioch