PETER BEFORE THE COUNCIL

The high priest questioned (the Apostles), 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a [p]cross. 31 He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (Acts5:27-32)

Reading through the early chapter of Acts there can be no doubt that Peter was the lead Apostle to the Jews as Paul in his capacity as Apostle to the Gentiles later affirmed (Gal2:7-8). Soon after being miraculously delivered from prison Peter and his fellow apostles were again apprehended by the High Priest (who was associated with the resurrection-denying Sadducees (5:17)) and summoned before the Senate to be questioned as per our text.

The main point I want to bring out from that brief exchange is that the preaching and correspondingly the thousands of early converts continued to be exclusively Jewish (as is also evidenced by the events of chapter 10 to follow). Peter describes Jesus as the One whom God exalted to His right hand to bring repentance to Israel (v31), Note also from the last verse that the Holy Spirit was given to those who obey God, not (as I once understood) in order that one might be enabled to obey God. Such is the order and sequence to be found in the sermons within Acts as we have already observed (2:38).