The God of Abraham, etc. - This was wisely introduced, to show them that He whom they called their God had acknowledged Jesus Christ for his Son, and wrought this miracle in his name; and, by thus honouring Jesus whom they slew, he had charged home the guilt of that murder upon them.
Denied him in the presence of Pilate - Ηρνησασθε, Ye have renounced him as your king, and denounced him to death as a malefactor, when Pilate, convinced of his perfect innocence, was determined, κριναντος, judged it proper and just, to let him go. Pilate wished to act according to justice; you acted contrary to justice and equity in all their forms.
The God of Abraham - He is called the God of Abraham because Abraham acknowledged him as his God, and because God showed himself to be his friend. Compare Matthew 22:32; Exodus 3:6, Exodus 3:15; Genesis 28:13; Genesis 26:24. It was important to show that it was the same God who had done this that had been acknowledged by their fathers, and that they were not about to introduce the worship of any other God. And it was especially important, because the promise had been made to Abraham that in his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed, Genesis 12:3. Compare Galatians 3:16.
Hath glorified - Has honored. You denied, despised, and murdered him, but God has exalted and honored him. This miracle was done in the “name” of Jesus, Acts 3:6. It was the “power of God” that had restored the man; and by putting forth this power, God had shown that he approved the work of his Son, and was disposed to honor him in the view of people. Compare John 17:1; Ephesians 1:20-22; Philemon 2:9-11; Hebrews 2:9; Revelation 1:5-18.
Ye delivered up - That is, you delivered him to the omans to be put to death. See the notes on Acts 2:23.
And denied him in the presence of Pilate - Denied that he was the Messiah. Were unwilling to own him as your long-expected King, John 19:15.
When he was determined - Matthew 27:17-25; Luke 23:16-23. Pilate was satisfied of his innocence; but he was weak, timid, and irresolute, and he yielded to their wishes. The fact that Pilate regarded him as innocent was a strong aggravation of their crime. They should have regarded him as innocent; but they urged on his condemnation against the deliberate judgment of him before whom they had arraigned him, and thus showed how obstinately they were resolved on his death.
With mighty power the disciples preached a crucified and risen Saviour. Signs and wonders were wrought by them in the name of Jesus; the sick were healed; and a man who had been lame from his birth was restored to perfect soundness and entered with Peter and John into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God in the sight of all the people. The news spread, and the people began to press around the disciples. Many ran together, greatly astonished at the cure that had been wrought. EW 192.1
When Jesus died, the priests thought that no more miracles would be performed among them, that the excitement would die out and the people would again turn to the traditions of men. But lo! right among them the disciples were working miracles, and the people were filled with amazement. Jesus had been crucified, and they wondered where His followers had obtained this power. When He was alive, they thought that He imparted power to them; but when He died, they expected the miracles to cease. Peter understood their perplexity and said to them, “Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. 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. And His name through faith in His name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know.” EW 192.2Read in context »
The disciples of Christ had a deep sense of their own inefficiency, and with humiliation and prayer they joined their weakness to His strength, their ignorance to His wisdom, their unworthiness to His righteousness, their poverty to His exhaustless wealth. Thus strengthened and equipped, they hesitated not to press forward in the service of the Master. AA 57.1Read in context »
Their Saviour had been rejected and condemned, and nailed to the ignominious cross. The Jewish priests and rulers had declared, in scorn, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” But that cross, that instrument of shame and torture, brought hope and salvation to the world. The believers rallied; their hopelessness and conscious helplessness had left them. They were transformed in character, and united in the bonds of Christian love. Although without wealth, though counted by the world as mere ignorant fishermen, they were made, by the Holy Spirit, witnesses for Christ. Without earthly honor or recognition, they were the heroes of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence and power that shook the world. TM 67.1
The third, fourth, and fifth chapters of Acts give an account of their witnessing. Those who had rejected and crucified the Saviour expected to find His disciples discouraged, crestfallen, and ready to disown their Lord. With amazement they heard the clear, bold testimony given under the power of the Holy Spirit. The words and works of the disciples represented the words and works of their Teacher; and all who heard them said, They have learned of Jesus, they talk as He talked. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” TM 67.2
The chief priests and rulers thought themselves competent to decide what the apostles should do and teach. As they went forth preaching Jesus everywhere, the men who were worked by the Holy Spirit did many things that the Jews did not approve. There was danger that the ideas and doctrines of the rabbis would be brought into disrepute. The apostles were creating a wonderful excitement. The people were bringing their sick folk, and those that were vexed with unclean spirits, into the streets; crowds were collecting around them, and those that had been healed were shouting the praises of God and glorifying the name of Jesus, the very One whom the Jews had condemned, scorned, spit upon, crowned with thorns, and caused to be scourged and crucified. This Jesus was extolled above the priests and rulers. The apostles were even declaring that He had risen from the dead. The Jewish rulers decided that this work must and should be stopped, for it was proving them guilty of the blood of Jesus. They saw that converts to the faith were multiplying. “Believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” TM 67.3Read in context »