Saturday, October 8, 2016

“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” (Acts 4:1,2 KJV).

Why were Israel’s religious leaders “grieved” that Apostles Peter and John were teaching the people?

The word “grieved” here carries the idea of worry or irritation. It was used to describe the Apostle Paul’s attitude toward the devil possessing the girl who incessantly harassed his party in Philippi. Luke reports in Acts chapter 16: “[16] And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: [17] The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. [18] And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.”

Today’s Scripture says Israel’s religious leaders were “grieved that [Peter and John] taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” Part of that group was Sadducees, religious leaders who denied the Scriptural doctrine of resurrection (Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18; Acts 23:8). Remember, Peter and John were “preaching through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” They were contradicting religious tradition, and they had to be silenced! (Sound familiar?) After all, Peter had preached to Israel in the previous chapter: “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses” (Acts 3:14,15). No wonder those Sadducees were so disturbed!

Israel’s religious leaders knew they were losing their long-held influence over God’s people, and they were not about to let it happen. They knew the 12 Apostles were drawing people away from their vain religious system. What happened to Peter and John here? Read Acts chapter 4 to find out!