Acts 4:9

Site of moonshine still Pall Mall, Tennessee. Near residence of Sgt. Alvin York.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, Acts 4:9

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).

John and Peter stand before the council for interrogation, and Peter opens by addressing the “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel.” He now continues that with, “If we this day are judged.”

The words, “If we this day,” are a way of saying something like, “Since it is a fact that we are.” There they stood as if wrongdoers being “judged.” This is a technical word signifying to interrogate, inquire into, or examine. In other words, the council is set forth to determine a matter, not merely to make a judgment concerning an issue that has already been decided. It is a tribunal to determine facts concerning “a good deed.”

Here, the word euergesia is used. It signifies an act of beneficence. It is found only here and in 1 Timothy 6:2. After saying this, Peter immediately defines the subject of the act of beneficence without using any verb. The Greek reads –

“…a good work man ailing.”

His answer is abrupt and direct. It can be inferred that the way Peter responds is an emphatic retort to the question that was derogatorily asked of him in verse 4:7. The way the question was asked of them (indicated by the structure of the Greek) was demeaning. Peter’s response is not argumentative, but emphatic –

“By what power or by what name have you done this?”
“…a good work man ailing in what (means) he has been healed.”

It is with this empathic statement that Peter will next explain “by what means he has been made well.” In other words, there is no question that the man was healed. It has been accepted from the outset that it actually took place. However, the questioning of them is to determine how it came about. As far as the healing, the word Peter uses is sózó. It carries with it the sense of not only physical healing, but it is frequently connected to spiritual healing, or salvation.

It appears that Peter is setting up the rest of his response based on the use of this word. He easily could have just used a general term for healing, such as was used of Jesus’ work many times, therapeuó. But that would only refer to a physical healing, such as –

“Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.” Matthew 4:24

On the other hand, sózó is used for both the physical and the spiritual at times, such as is hinted at in Matthew 9 –

“But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, ‘Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.’ And the woman was made well from that hour.” Matthew 9:22

The woman’s faith in Jesus brought her to a state of healing. Likewise, Peter’s healing of the beggar afterward appears to have brought a state of wholeness to him that extends beyond the physical act.

Life application: It is common in churches today to spread a social gospel where doing good things for others becomes a means an end in itself. There are soup kitchens, shelters for the night, and the like. However, in many of these types of ministries there is actually no communication of the gospel at all. In some, there is none because the gospel is deemed “offensive.”

Therefore, the idea is that the body will be taken care of by the ministry, and if the person appreciates the effort, maybe he will want to know about Jesus. If not, that is his choice. This is a perverse abuse of the gospel because it is no gospel at all. The person may be filled, warm, or feel better, but he is just as much on the path to the Lake of Fire as before he entered the doors of the church. In the end, nothing is really solved with this approach.

Unfortunately, this is the only “gospel” proclaimed by the pope in Rome. There is never a mention from the lips of whoever occupies that seat that people need Jesus to be saved. With his example, denominations around the world have followed suit.

The church is failing because the word of God is not proclaimed, and the gospel of Jesus Christ is not preached. If you are in such a church, it is time for you to bring up the faulty view of the ministry and work to get it corrected. If there is an unwillingness to do so, it is time for you to pack up and leave.

First and foremost, people need to hear the saving message of Jesus. After that, everything else will fall into its proper place.

Lord God, may we be willing to put You and Your word first in our lives. Help us to not be a part of that which fails to bring You glory through the sharing of the gospel of our wonderful Lord, Jesus. Amen.