Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for June 30

Here’s the Explore the Bible Sunday School lesson commentary for June 30, written by Mark Rathel, professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida.

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for June 30

EMBOLDENED

Acts 4:8–21

The rapid growth of the Church caused concern among the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem. Notice the varied groups that were “annoyed” by the apostles’ proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus and therefore arrested the disciples (vv. 2, 3).

The imprisonment of the apostles backfired on the Jewish leadership as many believed, and the Church grew to a congregation of men numbering 5,000. In response, the Jewish leadership questioned Peter and John.

Truth delivered (8–12)

The attempt of the Jewish leadership to stop the Christian movement gave an opportunity for church leaders to proclaim the gospel in the highest Jewish court, which was composed of the rulers of the people (Sanhedrin) and the elders. Peter noted that people usually do not stand trial for doing a good deed for a disabled person.

Rather than providing a defense proper, Peter preached a message about Jesus based on Psalm 118 to the leaders and all the people of Israel. Notice the definite article — “the stone” rather than “a stone.” The Stone — Jesus, who was rejected by the Jewish leadership as insignificant — is the Cornerstone, which is the most important stone or crowning stone.

Peter’s words counter the prevailing view of religious pluralism in our age or any age. Salvation is experienced only in the person of Jesus. Notice the name of Jesus is a name given from heaven (God). If there were any other way of salvation, then the cross of Jesus would be meaningless.

Silence demanded (13–18)

The term translated “boldness” in the New Testament describes straightforward speech or freedom in speech about God or to God, but in this context it describes freedom of speech in the face of opposition.

The leadership recognized that Peter and John were uneducated and untrained in rabbinic theology.

Their only qualification to communicate their message was that “they had been with Jesus.” In private consultation, the Sanhedrin debated how they should respond to the miracle. The miracle was well known in Jerusalem and therefore could not be denied. To prevent the spread of the message of Jesus, the religious leadership commanded Peter and John to not speak or teach “in the name of Jesus.” In the 21st century, disciples of Jesus can share the gospel even in difficult settings of opposition.

Testimony given (19–21)

The apostles invited the Jewish leadership to decide if God would consider the submission of the apostles to the leaders’ command of silence as right or wrong. Peter and John had to choose between obeying God or obeying man. Peter and John refused to stop sharing the message about what they had seen and heard.

In the 21st century, many Christians throughout the world must make daily decisions about disobeying the laws of their country by sharing the gospel. For example, authoritative governments in Muslim nations view Christianity as a threat, and Christians endure persecution for it.


By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida

Share with others:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Related Posts