|Acts 4 |
1 Now as they [Peter and John] were speaking to the people, the priests with the captain of the temple and the Sadducees, confronted them,
2 Having been disturbed that they taught the people, and preached the resurrection from the dead [possible] in Jesus.
3 So they seized them [Peter and John], and put them in jail until the next day, for it was now evening.
4 However, the number of those who heard the word [spoken by Peter and John from the Spirit of God] and believed, was about five thousand men.
5 Now it came to pass on the next day that their rulers, the elders, scribes,
6 Annas, the high priest Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and many of the descendants of high priests were gathered together at Jerusalem.
7 And when those men had set them [Peter and John] in the midst of them, they asked, "By what power, or by what name, have you done this?"
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "You rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
9 If we are examined today because of the good deed done to the lame man, and how he was made well;
10 Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, does this man stand here before you made well, even by Jesus.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other name; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved."
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
14 And beholding the man who was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
16 Saying, "What shall we do to these men? For indeed that a notable miracle has been done by them is clear to all those who dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us quickly threaten them, that they speak to no man in this name, from this time forward."1
18 And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you more than to God, judge yourself.
20 For we cannot avoid speaking the things that we have seen and heard."
21 So after they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way that they might punish them, because of the people; since all men glorified God for what had been done.
22 For the man was over forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shown.
23 Having been let go, they went to their own people, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.
24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voices to God with one accord, and said, "O Lord, you are God, who has made heaven and earth, and the sea and all that in them;
25 Who by the mouth of your servant David has said, 'Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
27 For truly both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, plotted together against your holy child Jesus, whom you had anointed;
28 To do whatever your hand and your will had determined before was to be done.
29 And now, Lord, behold their threats; and grant to your servants, that they may speak your word with all boldness,
30 While you stretch out your hand to heal, and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy child Jesus."
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak the word of God openly. [Them speaking the Word of God would hardly be worthy of reporting if they were simply reading or repeating scripture; these people were speaking the word from God's mouth that He had put in their mouths to speak.]
32 And the multitude of those who believed were all of one heart and soul; neither did any of them claim any of their possessions to be his own; but they shared all things in common.
33 And with great power [of God] the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all.
34 Neither was there any among them who needed anything; for many who possessed lands or houses, sold them and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,
35 To lay them down at the apostles' feet; and then distribution was made to every man according to his need.2
36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,
37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
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1 Notice, they were teaching in the name of Jesus. The meaning of this, is to be teaching from within Jesus, being one with Jesus, and speaking from words supplied by Jesus — speaking the Word of God, who is Jesus. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 1 Cor 2:13.
2 This community sharing was voluntary, as Peter emphasizes in the next chapter, saying any amount of the money could have been held back from the sale by the choice of the property owner. Over the years, these verses have been used to justify Communism and government confiscation of all property, which is the opposite of an Early Christian's voluntary gift of love, to be distributed by perfect men without greed or an agenda of self-aggrandizement.
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