Act 4:1-4 “And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.”
Those who would deny the truth of Jesus Christ are grieved (Strong’s defines as “toil through” or “be worried”). They work diligently to produce reasons why Jesus is not to be believed in. Excuses are fabricated to explain away the miraculous love of Jesus. His preeminence is sacrificed to the notion of man’s self-righteous abilities.
The priests and the Sadducees were especially concerned about Peter’s preaching concerning the resurrection of Jesus. The Sadducees were a sect of the Jewish priesthood that were in opposition to the idea of the resurrection (Mat 22:23). History tells us that the Sadducees were affluent and did not believe in things spiritually discerned, such as the concept of angels. They were opposed to the Pharisees and felt their political position threatened by Jesus.
In the gospel as recorded by Matthew (28:13), we see the elders bribing the guards who were at Jesus’ tomb to lie about Him rising from the dead. Certainly, they did not want the multitude to be influenced by Peter’s preaching. If those assembled believed what Peter was saying, then their lie would be obvious. It is not difficult to see why they were “grieved” by this teaching.
Preaching that Jesus rose from the dead still grieves many today. If we understand that Jesus has defeated death without any help from us, then we must consider that He does not need our help to do any of the other things the Father sent Him to do. He did not need our help for the resurrection. And He certainly does not need our help to accomplish the salvation of His people.
The crowd saw Peter and John treated as criminals that day. Those whom they had always looked to as being in authority took these two disciples into custody and locked them away. It was late in the day, and they did not seek to discover any real justification for their actions. Fear for their own standing in the eyes of the people was enough to prompt them to this hasty action.
Even today, men who perceive themselves to be voices of religious authority are often grieved by the preaching of the gospel. When faced with the authority of Jesus Christ, man’s authority stands in total eclipse. The word of God, rightly divided, will expose every lie that we might tell ourselves about our importance. Rather than confess this, we often prefer to see these things locked away from the light.
However, darkness and bondage will never contain the truth of Jesus. In spite the best efforts of the priests and Sadducees, there were many who heard the word and believed. The power and authority of the name of Jesus of Nazareth had affected more than just the physically lame man. Some five thousand men experienced the miracle of the strengthening authority of God’s Son on that day.
May we always be ready to speak the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, even when men would bind us, that the glory of His truth would continue to be spread!