Today’s reading: Acts 4:1-22
Today we see Peter brought before the Sanhedrin. What a difference a few weeks makes! A short time ago Jesus stood silent in front of this council at a show trial and was railroaded off to crucifixion. Now Peter is before them. Filled with the Holy Spirit he speaks plainly yet forcefully.
The Sanhedrin asks him by what authority does he teach and do the things he does. Peter’s response is shocking! Two months ago it would have gotten him stoned for blasphemy but now, the council seems impotent to do anything about it:
…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.
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.”
Peter states directly to the leaders of the Jewish people that salvation comes through Jesus Christ. This is undoubtedly putting Jesus on par with God. However, all the Sanhedrin can think to do is scold him and tell him not to do it anymore. For his part, Peter points out that the Sanhedrin no longer have authority over them. He now answers to a higher authority:
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.”
This is a key moment in scripture. Authority has been taken away from the Sanhedrin and Jewish temple priests. Peter and the Church now have that authority and Peter will do what is right with it.
Tomorrow: Acts 4:23-37