Act 4:23-28 “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. 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: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.”
Peter, John, and the man whom they healed of lameness in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, had spent a night in jail. They were brought the next day before the high priest and the council. It was the council’s intention that these men be so awed of them that they would not spread the name of Jesus or speak of His resurrection. However, the Holy Ghost had a different idea about the situation.
Having filled Peter with His presence, Peter declared boldly to these men the salvation that was in Jesus Christ and Him alone. The council marveled at the way Peter declared these things. Still, they could not afford in their minds to have their authority challenged in such a way. So, they warned Peter and John not to speak in the name of this Jesus again (an idea that Peter soundly rejected) and sent them on their way.
Although Peter and John were “let go,” this did not signify that they were in any way pardoned in the eyes of the council. These men were simply afraid of public opinion, since the whole of Jerusalem was talking about the miracle that had been done to the lame man. It would not look good on them to punish Peter and John. Instead, they settled on making threats and told them to go away.
When they were released from the council, they did what most of us would do: they went to their friends and loved ones. It stands to reason that many of these had spent a sleepless night worrying about Peter and John being in jail and what would become of the situation. After hearing the details of their incarceration, they all had the same reaction. It certainly was not the reaction the council had hoped for.
These brothers and sisters lifted their voice to God as one. They all exalted Him as the Creator of all things. They acknowledged the truth of the scripture concerning the reaction of both foreigners and the rulers toward Jesus. As David prophesied, they were gathered against the Lord and His Christ (Psa 2:1-4). They understood that they had seen this in their day with the actions of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the Jews.
But these also understood a greater weight of glory in these matters. With one accord, they recognized that this all came about because of what the hand and counsel of God had already determined must be done. This was God’s doing and not men. In this knowledge, they found great encouragement.
The world still sends out threats against those today who would love and serve the Lord. We are told to be silent about sin. It is unpopular to give God the glory for His work in our lives. Be assured, it is still better today to obey God rather than men.
May we be blessed to see, as they did, the mighty hand of God working according to the council of His own will!