the mission of LifeGroup is
To witness to the resurrection through breaking bread, reading Scripture, prayer, and sharing in each other’s needs.
Christ, you are the risen Lord.
You are the ascended King.
You gave us the Holy Spirit to witness to your coming.
As the Early Church, we have gathered
to break bread,
to listen to your Word,
and to pray for one another,
Make us of one heart and mind,
May no one be in need
So the world can see,
that your Kingdom is coming.
v2 “These leaders were very disturbed”
What exactly disturbed them? What about resurrection of the dead was disturbing?
For the Sadducees - they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. They were rich liberals. They only accepted the Pentateuch/ Torah. They were naturalists.
For the priests - they were afraid what resurrection would foment in the people. Resurrection was seen as the sign of God’s coming. It might stir to rise up. As much as they hated the Romans, they were benefiting from this marriage of Roman power and Temple power.
v4 - Luke continues to give count of the Christians (30, 120, 3,000, 5,000).
“The council of all the rules....” The Jewish leaders was divided. But over the rise of this “Jesus sect” they come to agree. Why was this Jesus movement such a threat to all the leaders and factions?
v6 - Why are the names of the high priest and his relatives given? Would it trigger something for the reader?
v8 - What is the tone of Peter’s answer? A bit sarcastic? He starts with the miracle. Why? It is an irrefutable fact (the healed was there) and an irrefutable good act (helping a person). This was not done in Sabbath (as the controversial miracles of Jesus) so the leaders are fishing for some other controversy.
v12 “There is salvation in no one else!” We must hear this claim first in that ad-hoc trial of Peter. He is speaking to the Jews. What would it mean for the Jew that there is salvation in no one else? What are some competing Jewish understanding of salvation
circumcision - the simple right of all Jews, Sadducees?
priestly - keeping of the pilgrimages and the temple sacrifices
pharisees - keeping of the all Jewish laws. Ethical living.
The claim to Jesus as the only way to salvation is to deny the claims of these competing parties. At the same time, it opens the door to non Jews. Even Peter probably did not recognize this at the time of this saying. But if Jesus is the only way to be saved, then it is no longer tied to ethnic heritage.
v13 “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness”
Why is their boldness so impressive?
Imagine being there. The ones in trial is made to be felt small and judged as the council sat above them. These same people had crucified Jesus. Peter had ran away from this same council just two months before. Think about when you have to defend yourself before people of power. Even public speech makes us nervous. Peter does not hesitate his defense. In fact, he is in the offensive. This boldness breaks the illusion of authority of the leaders. They realize they have no sway over Peter anymore. So they can only throw empty threats: “The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go...” Indeed, it is the council who are afraid.
Peter and John give report, then they pray. What are some interesting elements of the prayer?
They start with addressing God’s sovereignty. Why is this address important?
They pray Psalms 2. How does Psalm 2 fit their situation?
They reinterpret the “anointed one” from King David to the Messiah (The anointed one).
What do they ask for?
boldness in preaching the word and works of healing, miracles, and signs.
The two go hand in hand, proclamation and action. Why are supernatural works (healings, miracles, signs) important to the preaching?
In that worldview, the surest sign of God was supernatural event. It harkens back to Exodus where God proved himself to be the Living God over the dead Egyptian gods by the 10 signs.
- v31 - “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” Is this the same as Pentecost? Theologians distinguish between receiving the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy SPirit. It is not a useful distinction. What is important is we should always seek new experiences of God, new filling of the Spirit.