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Bible Gemz 1427 - Amazed at the Boldness of Ordinary Untrained Men (Acts 4:13-17)

January 27, 2019

 

The Council’s Response:

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say.

So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves.

"What should we do with these men?" they asked each other. "We can't deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it.

But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus' name again."(Acts 4:13-17)

 

 

Do you notice there are specific parts and a certain progression to these proceedings? 

 

a) The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, 

a) for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. 

c) They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

d) But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say.

e) So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves.

f) "What should we do with these men?" they asked each other. 

 

Therefore I will follow this progression and group my questions around this pattern.

 

Amazed at the boldness of Peter and John 

What was it that highlighted Peter’s boldness? 

What was he bold about?

Why don’t the Rulers and Elders respond to Peter’s boldness in other ways? Why do they just marvel?

Is there anything to the fact that John is included again – for what reason? Boldness or something else?

What is it that caused the Council to wonder or marvel?

What did they marvel at?

Note the imperfect inchoative form of the active verb [thaumazo] 

 

Ordinary, Untrained Men 

Does it contrast with the reference to “untaught" or “uneducated” or is it used in another way?

What does [agrammatos] and “common” mean in this context? 

 

Recognised as being with Jesus

Is there any significance to the closing statement of this segment by Luke? "And they recognized them, that they were with Jesus."

How was it that the members of the Council just "now" recognise them as men who had been with Jesus?

What do they mean by "being with Jesus"? 

 

Because the healed man was standing there, they could say nothing

Why is the lame man (the one who has been healed) not questioned as he would be in any normal investigation into a healing case?

What role did the healed man standing there play in all of this?

Why was it the Council could say nothing?

 

Ordered them out conferred together

Why did they order Peter and John out of the chamber?

 

What should we do with them?

Why do they say, “What should we do with these men?” Why did they have to do anything?

What were their alternatives?

Isn’t the evidence stacked against the council? Why do they persist in continuing the façade?

Why must they take disciplinary action? What game are they playing?

Why do they handle this incident with kid gloves when at other times their response is harsher? 

Compare some other similar incidents (Acts 5:12-26, 5:40-41) and see how their response on this occasion was very different. What was behind it? 

 

 

Is the "but" of verse 17 adversative or an intensifier related to the subjunctive sense?

 

This is the plan of attack before us for the next number of Gemz. I don’t know how many Gemz it will take. I will simply work my way through the text piece by piece. I am still open to any questions you may think of along the way. Why? Because your questions will help sharpen me too for the benefit of all of us. Did you notice the allusion hidden in the title of Wednesday’s Gemz? I told the DB 601 class to be on the lookout for it because we are currently working in the House of Allusion. The title on the last Gemz was -The Questions for Ordinary Men with No Formal Training. Do you see there were two meanings or reference points to that statement? Andrianto wrote,"So it looks like you are talking about questions for Peter and John. But what you mean is the questions (in the Gemz) that are actually for us present time disciples - ordinary men with no formal training to [help us] understand the passage.”

 

Exactly Andrianto. Smart man. 

 

1. The questions directed to the original disciples as ordinary men with no formal training.

2. Helpful questions for you as ordinary men (and women) who have no formal training. 

The one sense is focused on the situation the disciples faced before the Council. The other is what you face now as we work through this passage of the Bible. These questions are what I have come up with to help you (as untrained, ordinary people) and me to understand the details Luke has given us at a deeper level. Deliberately, I alluded to another level of focus hidden in this title. 

 

I will say some more about this idea of untrained ordinary men and women in the next Gemz. 

 

 

The focus questions for today - Amazed at the boldness of Peter and John 

 

What was it that highlighted Peter’s boldness? 

What was he bold about?

Why don’t the Rulers and Elders respond to Peter’s boldness in other ways? Why do they just marvel?

Is there anything to the fact that John is included again – for what reason? Boldness or something else?

What is it that caused the Council to wonder or marvel?

What did they marvel at?

Note the imperfect inchoative form of the active verb [thaumazo]

 

These leaders noticed, perceived or observed that these disciples,Peter and John, were [parresia]. Notice they observed the same quality in John as they saw in Peter. The verb is a present participle so this was a continuous unfolding observation. Everything they noted added to their conclusion that these two men had this quality.What was it they observed or noted? The word [parresia]has two meanings:

1) confident, filled with courage, bold, fearless

2) openness, bold to speak plainly, speaking without reserve, boldly telling all

Both of these meanings applies in this case. It is clear if you go back over the speech that Luke recorded, Peter made some bold statements. He told them everything in a very open and unrestrained way. He held nothing back. But it wasn’t only Peter's words. Everything about him and John made it very clear that they did not flinch in the face of danger or what this council could do to them. They spoke the truth boldly. I am assuming here that John spoke too as we have discussed before. I think one aspect that the Council noticed was these two were not intimidated at all by the men who were sitting in front of them. These were the ones responsible for putting Jesus to death. If we think on a purely human level then Peter and John should have been quaking in their shoes standing before this Council. Especially as they were proclaiming boldly the reason for this man’s healing andtheir conviction that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. The one these men had been condemned to death because He claimed to be Messiah. Make sure you take in the grandeur and the boldness required to say what Peter and John did. Peter is telling this Council that Jesus is the reason this man was healed. He is the authority behind the action. But not only that, He has told them that This One is the Cornerstone and that all have to recognise Him as Messiah, theOne with whom their lives need to align. These leaders must repent of their sins and turn to Him, theOne they have rejected. You have to admit that this was as bold and courageous as much as it was plain, clear and challenging. It was all of the meanings of [parresia] all wrapped up together, both speaking straight to the point and with courage and conviction. Let me clip from something which is coming up in the next chapter. 

 

Act 5:29 But Peter and the apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than any human authority.

Act 5:33 When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them.

 

Exactly! That is what we would expect their reaction to be. We would expect Peter, who wasearlier repeatedly scared of a servant girl, to slink away from this situation too. But he doesn’t. He is the epitome of courage, boldness and plain speaking. No wonder the members of the council noticed, they couldn’t help it. Although it is not mentioned in the words of Luke, it is likely that John spoke as well but Luke only chose to record Peter’s words. But it is clear that whether John spoke or not, his mannerclearlywas bold and courageous. Both Peter and John manifested the same courage and complete disregard for the power and authority this group of men wielded. 

 

The Council marvelled, stood amazed, were astonished. Why? Partly because ofPeter and John'sboldness and forthrightness and partly because they recognised something else. They must have wondered at the mastery of their biblical understanding as well. The quality and the depth of their answers from the Scriptures were impressive, to the point of astonishing the members of Council,causing them to be speechless. The arguments of Peter, this humble fisherman, must have left them nonplussed as to how to counter them. But there is something else in the verb “amazed” that I must draw to your attention. This is behind my enigmatic comments in the last Gemz -the imperfect inchoative form of the active verb [thaumazo]. What this means is that this action had a beginning in this story but that the action was ongoing. In other words, they started to be amazed and theiramazement continued to increase as they observed Peter and John. To the point where they were dumbfounded and didn't know how to proceed. Given the circumstances, that indeed is AMAZING.

 

Continuing story in the following Gemz. 

 

 

The enemy doesn’t oppose and discourage you because of where you are. He opposes and discourages you becauseof where he fears you are going. Ian

 

Don't shine so others can see you. Shine so that, through you, others can see Jesus. Sidney Mohede

 

Don’t ask God to GUIDE YOUR STEPS If you're not willing to TAKE A WALK! Ian

 

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

 

 

 

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