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Acts Lecture 5 - Conflict between Temple and the New Community

The battle between a renewed Israel with new leadership, and the old Israel of the
temple establishment (see Luke 22:30).

Whose side is God on - who is the legitimate bearer of divine authority?

The issue of charismatic legitimation (charismatic Legitimation = legitimation

through the possession of uncommon power. In biblical frame, charismatic
legitimation is through the anointing of the Spirit)

Chapter 3

The continuing temple attendance of the early Christians (see 2:46)

 First reference to Christianity doesn’t come until the letters of Ignatius (AD

The blessings one can receive from the temple, and the blessings one can receive from
the apostles.

The exaltation of Jesus indicated by means of healing “in his name”

 The explanation given for the miracle comes in 3:12-26.

 The Christocentrism of the miracles

 What does in the name of Jesus mean?

Acts Lecture 5 - Conflict between Temple and the New Community

o Claiming or invoking the authority of the one named.

 Representing the whole of their person or presence, even though they

are located elsewhere – (see 2 Sam 7:13 – he shall build a house for
my name)

What does the miracle of the man tell us about Jesus?

 He is ruling and reigning over God’s people

o You killed him but God glorified him

o The thoroughly Jewish character of the speech

 Servant – cf. Isa 52:!3

 Holy and Righteous One – see 1 En 38:2; Pss. Sol.
 The Author (archegos) of Life – author, prince, leader,
 Jesus as the exalted eschatological prophet (Deut 18:15-
19) like Moses (see 1QS 1.9-11; 4Q175 1.5-8; 1 Macc
14:41; Josephus. Ant.20.5.1)

o Jesus now functions as a greater Moses over the people of God – responding
to him determines whether you are of the people, or cut off from the people.

o He has brought the arrival of the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham.

o The Christocentrism of the miracle

o Again, Peter’s speech leaves the crowd in a bad position – we killed him.
Acts Lecture 5 - Conflict between Temple and the New Community

o Yet their act of sin is also the source of their forgiveness

Other things that are demonstrated by the miracle

o The whole restoration that eschatological salvation brings.

Cf. Isa 35:6; see also Lev 21:17-20 in terms of coming into the temple

o Legitimates the apostles as Jesus’ authorized agents

4:1-22 – Explicit conflict between Jewish leadership and the new


Like Jesus, the apostles are rejected by the official leadership of Judaism.

The Sadducean problem with resurrection.

The crucial question of authority = "By what power or by what name did you do

Their continued refusal to believe in Jesus is cutting them off from the people of God.

The concluding prayer makes clear the apostle’s belief that this hard-hearted rejection
anticipated in Scripture (Psalm 2).
Acts Lecture 5 - Conflict between Temple and the New Community

The Continuing Faithfulness of the Apostles.

In the face of hostility, suffering is embraced and not seen as an indication of failure.

Their prayerful response to persecution in 4:23-31.

God fills them with the Spirit for what purpose?

4:32 – 5:11 – Community Life: Possibilities and Problems

Taking the pulse of the community showing both the glory and the garbage.

No needy – Israel’s call in Deut 15:4

The Juxtaposition: Acts 4:32-5:11 – Barnabas vs. Ananias and Sapphira.

He did have the option to keep back proceeds, but he doesn’t have the option
of misrepresenting his generosity.

The desire for praise and perhaps also the desire for keeping possessions.

The presence of Satan sowing the seeds of sin within the community.

Not the only judgement miracle in Acts – see Herod the Great’s death in Acts 12:23
and Elymas the sorcerer in 13:8-11 (Some OT parallels – Josh 7:1, 19-26; Lev 10:2; 1
Kings 14:1-18)

Particularly critical in the early days of the church reminding the community of its
call to holiness and its loyalty to God.
Acts Lecture 5 - Conflict between Temple and the New Community

Third summary: Acts 5:12-16

Not about community life, but rather about their relationships with outsiders. God
continues to answer the prayers of 4:24-31

The bringing of the sick parallels Luke 4:31-44.

5:17-42 – More persecution

Expansion of persecution as now all apostles are at risk – not just Peter and John.

The cosmic overrule.

Didn’t we tell you to stop preaching?

Gamaliel gives first non-Christian speech – and it is important. As a character, he is

used by Luke to express the standard that this new apostolic movement will be judged
by its staying power.

“When Luke shows the apostles triumphantly preaching Jesus as messiah in the
temple, undaunted by the council’s beatings or threats, and shown to be empowered
and guided by God’s Spirit, he has answered for his readers the question concerning
leadership over Israel” Luke Timothy Johnson.

The apostles now represent the hope of Israel. The church will preach Jesus no matter
what the cost.
Acts Lecture 5 - Conflict between Temple and the New Community

Historical Considerations


3:1 reaffirms the involvement of the new community in Temple life

Needs created by relocations from Galilee (Jervell)

Witherington argues that the social composition of the Jerusalem church – mirrored
the social fabric of the city itself. Large disparities between rich and poor. With
artisans and craftsmen middle class in between. Some land-owners amongst the early

Interesting question – how did Galilean fishermen make their living in Jerusalem?


A Messianic Sect (they are even called this in Acts 24:5; 14; 28:22)

The crucial question is the status of Jesus

At this stage, they present as a charismatic renewal movement within Judaism.