828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Christian formation for April 29; Acts 4:5-12; Peter and John before the Council

Peter and John before the Council

Background: The Acts of the Apostles continues the story of Jesus’ life portrayed in the Gospel of Luke. This book emphasizes the sovereignty of God and the divinity of Jesus; heavy emphasis is placed on tying all Jesus did to the Old Testament prophets. It has been said that Luke’s intent was to show the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus were both real and preordained by God.

Theme: Peter and John have been witnessing to the power of the resurrected Jesus in the Temple. The Apostles have been peacefully confronting the Jewish leadership and the leader’s stifling of the people’s access to the redeeming message of Christ. In this case, the Apostles have healed a lame man and are being tried by the religious leadership regarding their actions in the Temple.

Questions to Ponder

* What is the social and political status of the nation of Israel? How freely do the believers get to move about and worship in Jerusalem?

* Why might the religious leaders be adamantly against the message of the Apostles? How do you think the Roman occupiers react to the Apostles and the traditional Jewish religious authorities? Why might there be a difference in the Roman’s actions to these different groups?

* Who do you think Annas, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander are? What was known about these different individuals in Luke’s gospel? Why do you think they were included in the group of the high priestly family trying the Apostles?

* Do you think there may be a more subtle message in the story, brought about by naming the different individuals (previous question) at the beginning of the story?

* Why do you think Luke attributes the words spoken by Peter to the Holy Spirit? Do you think Peter was speaking on his authority or some other person’s/entity’s authority? Why or why not

* What do you think is most disturbing about the Apostle’s claim that the man “is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom you crucified,”? Do you think this signals a change in thinking in the religious community in 1st century Israel?

* Why do you think Peter states the claim about Jesus recalling the words of Psalm 118:22?

* What do you think is meant by the following statement, “There is salvation in no one else [Jesus]…” and “…there is no other name [Jesus’] under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved” in verse 12

* What might the pitfall be in Peter saying that Jesus’ name is the only way that people will be saved? Could that be misinterpreted as something akin to an incantation or magical formula?

* Do you think it is important for those in healing ministries to invoke the name of Jesus aloud? Would it be as effective for “healers” to simply invoke the name of Jesus to themselves?

* What might the application of this passage be for us today?

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