I. THE QUESTION: "WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THESE MEN?"
A. The facts:
1. A notable miracle has been done by them.
a. A man who was over 40 years old man, a man lame from birth is now walking.
b. In fact he is standing before them.
2. It is manifested to all who dwell in Jerusalem.
a. No doubt everyone in town had seen this man at one time or another.
b. He was a well-known fixture at the beautiful gate of the temple who had been begging alms from the passersby.
c. Many of them at some time or other, in pity, had probably given him a coin.
3. "We cannot deny it."
a. How could you deny it when the man is standing right there in front of you.
b. When faced with a similar dilemma in the ministry of Jesus they had declared that He did it by the power of Beelzebub.
c. But the disciples had already testified to the crowd that it was through the name of Jesus who was risen from the dead that this man was able to stand and walk.
B. Their problem: to keep it from spreading any further.
1. The whole city was buzzing over this, "How can we stop this?"
2. They are faced with a real problem.
C. The suggested solution.
1. To silence them with severe threats.
2. Warn them of the dire consequences if they continue to speak to men about Jesus.
D. It is interesting how completely they misunderstood the disciples.
1. First, they thought that they were ignorant and unlearned men.
2. Second, they thought that their relationship with Jesus was in the past tense.
3. Third they thought that they could silence their witness with threats.
II. THEY CALLED THEM BACK INTO THE ROOM AND COMMANDED THEM TO CEASE AND DESIST FROM SPEAKING OR TEACHING ABOUT JESUS.
A. What would be your response to such an order?
B. In some places it is against the law to speak to others about Jesus with the intent to convert them to Christianity.
1. There are some members of congress who are trying to silence the message of Jesus Christ today.
C. They basically are being threatened with imprisonment if they continue to tell others about Jesus Christ.
III. THE RESPONSE OF THE DISCIPLES TO THE THREATS.
A. "Is it right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God?"
1. God has commanded us to do one thing, now you are commanding us not to do it.
2. Who do you think we should listen to?
3. You judge for yourself what you would do in such a situation but as for us our decision is already made.
B. We cannot but speak the things that we have seen and heard.
1. In the next chapter when they have been arrested again for violating this court order and they are questioned:
Did not we strictly warn you that you should not teach in this name? and, behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.
Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
2. The word ought is an unfortunate translation.
3. This same Greek word (die) is translated in Luke:
Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
And he said unto them, How is it that you sought me? did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?
4. It is the same divine imperative that they used back in verse 12 where they declared that there is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved.
a. It is not we ought.
b. Not we should.
c. But we must.
5. Men with that commitment and the sense of the divine calling will not be silenced with threats.
IV. VERSE 21 SO WHEN THEY HAD FURTHER THREATENED THEM, THEY LET THEM GO, FINDING NOTHING HOW THEY MIGHT PUNISH THEM, BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE: FOR ALL [MEN] GLORIFIED GOD FOR THAT WHICH WAS DONE.
A. The later part of this verse is significant. "For all men glorified God for that which was done."
1. This is exactly what Jesus had said to them in the Sermon on the Mount. "Let your light therefore so shine before men, that when they see your good works, they glorify your Father which is in heaven."
2. When Jesus healed the palsied man we read:
But when the multitudes saw [it], they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.
4. Luke tells us of the blind man in Jericho:
And it came to pass, that as he was come near to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what was happening.
And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.
And he cried, saying, Jesus, [thou] son of David, have mercy on me.
And those who were around him rebuked him, and told him to be quiet, but he cried so much the more, [Thou] son of David, have mercy on me.
And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,
What do you want Me to do for you? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
And Jesus said unto him, Receive your sight: your faith has saved you.
And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw [it], gave praise unto God.
5. When the bottom line is that people are glorifying man, you know that things were done in a wrong way.
6. When your work brings glory to God, you know that it is right.