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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 4 - Verse 2

Verse 2. Being grieved. The word thus translated occurs but in one other place in the New Testament, Ac 16:18. It implies more than simple sorrow; it was a mingled emotion of indignation and anger. They did not grieve because they thought it a public calamity, but because it interfered with their authority, and opposed their doctrine. It means that it was painful to them, or they could not bear it. It is often the case that bigots, and men in authority, have this kind of grief at the zeal of men in spreading the truth, and thus undermining their influence and authority.

That they taught the people. The ground of their grief was as much the fact that they should presume to instruct the people, as the matter which they taught them. They were offended that unlearned Galileans, in no way connected with the priestly office, and unauthorized by them, should presume to set themselves up as religious teachers. They claimed the right to watch over the interests of the people, and to declare who was authorized to instruct the nation. It has been no unusual thing for men in ecclesiastical stations to take exceptions to the ministry of those who have not been commissioned by themselves. Men easily fancy that all power to instruct others is lodged in their hands; and they oppose others simply from the fact that they have not derived their authority from them. The true question in this case was, whether these Galileans gave proof that they were sent by God. The fact of the miracle in this case should have been satisfactory. We have here, also, a striking instance of the fact that men may turn away from evidence, and from most important points, and fix on something that opposes their prejudices, and which may be a matter of very little moment. No inquiry was made whether the miracle had been really wrought; but the only inquiry was, whether they had conformed to their views of doctrine and order.

And preached through Jesus, etc. The Sadducees would be particularly opposed to this. They denied the doctrine of the resurrection, and they were troubled that the apostles adduced proof of it so strong as the resurrection of Jesus. It was perceived that this doctrine was becoming established among the people; multitudes believed that he had risen; and if he had been raised up, it followed also that others would rise. The Sadducees, therefore, felt that their cause was in danger; and they joined with the priests in endeavouring to arrest its spread among the people. This is the account of the first opposition that was made to the gospel as it was preached by the apostles. It is worthy of remark, that it excited so much and so speedily the enmity of those in power; and that the apostles were so soon called to test the sincerity of their attachment to their Master. They who but a few days before had fled at the approach of danger, were called to meet this opposition, and to show their attachment to a risen Redeemer; and they did it without shrinking. They showed now that they were indeed the true friends of the crucified Saviour: and this remarkable change in their conduct is one among the many proofs that they were influenced from above.

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