Acts 4:15


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Monday, 17 January 2022

But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Acts 4:15

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

Luke just noted that the council had no way of speaking against the healing of the beggar because he was there, standing with them. However, this doesn’t mean that a decision by the council could not be made. As such, Luke continues with, “But when they had commanded them.”

They are Israel’s leaders, and as such, they had the right to direct the men within the parameters of the law. Further, they had the right to deliberate matters that came before them. In order to do this, they determined it would be better to confer without the continued presence of the apostles and the healed man. Therefore, they were directed “to go aside out of the council.”

This is still a common practice in courts. Private discussions and reviews occur, such as when the jurists are directed to go into a private setting to decide a matter or when the judge and the lawyers confer alone. In this, the objective is obviously not to speak against the healing of the man, but to stop the apostles from speaking about Jesus. That is evident from earlier in this same chapter –

“Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” Acts 4:1, 2

The apostles were proclaiming Jesus was alive when those of the council had seen Him crucified and dead. They were proclaiming He was the Messiah when the leaders of the nation had rejected Him. They were proclaiming healing in His name while these same leaders had ambled past the man day after day without ever entertaining such a thought.

What was happening was like a stain upon them in many ways and they wanted it washed away. As such, they looked for an answer to the matter and “they conferred among themselves.”

The main reason for this private deliberation was to come to an agreed resolution on the matter. Each division of these men had something to gain from stopping the speech of the apostles, and each of them surely had something to lose if the matter was not handled properly. Certain aspects of their previous involvement in the crucifixion of Christ could come to light.

But more, and this surely had to be on their minds, is the continued nagging thought that what these men had been preaching might be true. The evidence of the healing was undeniable. The conversion of many thousands had already taken place. These things were not hidden in a corner. What was decided by this council wasn’t just a matter of imprisoning a couple of hicks from Galilee. Rather, it was something that appeared to be substantial, and it was growing more so with each day that passed.

Life application: Up to this point, the apostles have been obedient to the rulers of Israel. They allowed themselves to be taken into custody. They spent the night in the jail. They have stood before the council of leaders and stated their case. Now, they have complied with being removed from the council as it deliberates.

Likewise, Paul writes in Romans something that corresponds to Jesus’ words of rendering unto Caesar what is due to Caesar –

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” Romans 13:1-7

At what point does allegiance to the governing authorities no longer apply? It is a question each person must be prepared to consider. Is it ever right to be disobedient to such authorities?

The Bible is often used as a tool to meet set agendas by one side or another. One common method is for those who couldn’t care one iota about God or what the Bible says to cite verses from Scripture in order to shame Christians into silence. This is consistently done by taking verses completely out of their intended context. But unless those Christians know what the context is, they may actually be having their rights stripped from them by the very source which gives them their rights within the faith in the first place.

Christians must know the Bible well enough to know when it is being cited properly or not. They must engage in critical thinking, and they must be grounded in what is morally right. Without these things, the Christian is set to be misused by those who may have evil intent for them. Please read and know your Bible.

Lord God, we thank You for Your wonderful word. May we be wise and diligently study it daily. Give us wisdom in its contents, the ability to discern its truths, and the smarts to know when it is being miscited by those who have perverse agendas. Yes, Lord. Help us to be well-informed concerning this precious word. Amen.