4:1 And 1 as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the a captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
(1) There are none more commonly diligent or bold enemies of the Church than those who profess themselves to be the chief builders of it, but the more they rage, the more steadfastly the faithful servants of God continue. 4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the b number of the men was about five thousand.
(a) The Jews had certain troops for the guard and safety of the temple and holy things (see ( Matthew 26:47 )). These garrisons had a captain, such as Eleazarus Ananias, the high Priests son in the time of the war that was in Judea, being a very impudent and proud young man; Josephus, lib. 2, of the taking of Judea.
(b) While they thought to diminish the number, they actually increased it. 4:5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their c rulers, and elders, and scribes,
(c) These were those who were members of the Sanhedrin, who were all from the tribe of Judah, until Herod came to power. 4:6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the d kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
(d) From whom the high Priests were usually chosen and made. At this time the former high Priest was stepping down, and a new high Priest was being appointed. 4:7 2 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what e name, have ye done this?
(2) Against those who brag of a succession of persons, without a succession of doctrine, and by that means beat down the true ministers of the word, as much as they are able. 4:9 3 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
(e) By what authority.
(3) The wolves who come after true pastors plead their own cause and not Gods, neither the cause of the Church. 4:10 4 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, [even] by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
(4) He is indeed a true shepherd that teaches his sheep to rest upon Christ alone as upon one that is not dead, but has conquered death, and has all rule in his own hands. 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other f name g under heaven h given among men, whereby we must be saved.
(f) There is no other man, or no other power and authority at all; and this kind of speech was common among the Jews, and arose from this, that when we are in danger we call upon those at whose hands we look for help. 4:13 5 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and i ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
(g) Anywhere: and this shows us the largeness of Christs kingdom.
(h) Of God.
(5) The good liberty and boldness of the servants of God does yet this much good, that those who lay hidden under a mask of zeal at length betray themselves to indeed be wicked men. 4:15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they k conferred among themselves,
(i) The word used here is "idiot", which signifies a private man when it is used in reference to a magistrate: but with reference to sciences and studies, it signifies one that is unlearned, and with regard to honour and estimation, it implies one of base degree, and of no estimation.
(k) Laid their heads together. 4:16 6 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them [is] manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny [it].
(6) He that flatters himself in ignorance, at length comes to do open wickedness, and that against his own conscience. 4:19 7 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
(7) We must obey men to whom we are subject, but especially and before all things we must obey God. 4:21 8 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.
(8) The wicked are so far off from doing what they wish, that God uses them contrary to their desires to set forth his glory, which he gives them permission to do. 4:23 9 And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
(9) The apostles share their troubles with the congregation. 4:24 10 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou [art] God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the l people of Israel, were gathered together,
(10) We should neither be afraid of the threats of our enemies, neither yet foolishly condemn their rage and madness against us: but we have to set against their force and malice an earnest thinking upon the power and good will of God (both which we manifestly behold in Christ) and so flee to the aid and assistance of our Father.
4:28 For to m do whatsoever n thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
(l) Although the people of Israel were but one people, yet the plural number is used here, not so much for the twelve tribes, every one of which counted as a people, but because of the great multitude of them, as though many nations had assembled themselves together, as in ( Judges 5:14 ).
(m) The wicked execute Gods counsel, even though they think nothing of it, but they are not therefore without fault. 4:31 11 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
(n) You had determined by your absolute authority and power.
4:32 12 And the multitude of them that believed were of o one heart and of one soul: neither said any [of them] that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
(11) God witnesses to his Church by a visible sign that it is he that will establish it, by shaking the powers both of heaven and of earth.
4:34 13 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
(12) An example of the true Church, in which there is equal consent both in doctrine and in charity toward one another: and the pastors deliver true doctrine both sincerely and constantly.
(o) They agreed in counsel, will, and all plans.
(13) True charity helps the need of the poor with its own loss, but in such a way that all things are done well and orderly.