Peter and John Before the Council
 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them,  greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.  And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.  But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
 On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem,  with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family.  And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders,  if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed,  let it be known to all of you 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—by him this man is standing before you well.  This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.  But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.  But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another,  saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.  But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.”  So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge,  for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”  And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened.  For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old. (ESV)
- Cultural conflict was an ongoing reality in the early Church.
This is the first of many recorded collisions between the Church and the religious and/or cultural establishment. At the heart of this conflict was the Apostle’s preaching that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and was, therefore, Lord of all. As a result, some of the Apostles were thrown into prison. In the midst of this conflict, Luke tells us that many believed and were converted. There rarely is mass conversion without significant conflict.
- Knowing Jesus gave the Apostles a unique power and confidence.
The Apostles were not highly educated, religious experts. Peter himself was a blue-collar, small business-owning fisherman. He had calloused hands and a strong back. And yet, the religious elite were no match for him and they themselves knew it. What was the difference? Peter knew Jesus and they did not. Peter’s knowledge of Jesus gave him a bold confidence that could not be shaken, even after being imprisoned.
- Why do you think the religious elite were so threatened by the Gospel preaching of the Apostles?
- What astonished the religious elite? How does this affect the way we think about our own Christian growth?
- How did the early Church respond when the governing authorities forbid them to preach the Gospel? How do you reconcile that with 1 Peter 2:13-14?
Call to Worship
 It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
 to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
 to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
 For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy. (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, Father of mercies, continue to work in us what is pleasing to you. Grant to us the grace to see our sins as you see them, so to grieve over them: then turn our sin into repentance, and let our repentance lead to forgiveness; and teach us diligently to guard all our actions that we may never willingly transgress your laws or disobey your Word, but make it our life's work to obey you, the joy of our souls to please you, and the purest of all our desires to live with you in your kingdom of grace and glory. Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources are tools for families to use to help connect Sunday’s sermon to the rest of your week, fostering conversations and habits of worship.