Acts 5:27–32 (NA28)

27Ἀγαγόντες δὲ αὐτοὺς ἔστησαν ἐν τῷ συνεδρίῳ. καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτοὺς ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς

And (when they) had brought them and made (them) stand in the Sanhedrin and the high priest put a question to them

  • The trial began with the apostles being brought before the Sanhedrin. The Greek text has them “stood up” (estēsan) before the body, and this was the usual procedure, the defendants standing, the judges sitting.[1]

28λέγων· [οὐ] παραγγελίᾳ παρηγγείλαμεν ὑμῖν μὴ διδάσκειν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τούτῳ, καὶ ἰδοὺ πεπληρώκατε τὴν Ἰερουσαλὴμ τῆς διδαχῆς ὑμῶν καὶ βούλεσθε ἐπαγαγεῖν ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς τὸ αἷμα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τούτου.

Saying, “we gave you strict orders not to teach in the this name, and behold you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you are intending to bring upon us the blood of this man

  • The Sanhedrin gladly took the blood of Christ on their heads and their children to Pilate (Matt. 27:25). Paul tried to save the Jews (Acts 18:6; 22:20). “This man” (του ἀνθρωπου τουτου [tou anthrōpou toutou]). Contemptuous slur and refusal to call the name of Jesus as in the Talmud later.[2]
  • The high priest as presiding officer began the interrogation, charging the apostles with two offenses. First, they had broken the interdiction of the Sanhedrin and continued to preach “in this name.” Second, they were determined to lay the guilt for “this man’s blood” on them, the Jewish leaders.[3]
  • Notice how there is no mention of their escape from prison
  • Also, again, how they do not mention Jesus’ name – Acts 4:17-18
    • Consider the interaction in the Gospels with the Jewish authorities
      • Jesus had been accused of blaspheme – does this affect how they respond in not using Jesus’ name?
    • The high priest’s concern about being charged with responsibility for Jesus’ “blood” may have had more significance than appears at first sight. To “lay someone’s blood” on someone is an Old Testament expression for a charge of murder and in accordance with the ius Talionis demanded the death of the guilty party. In essence the high priest was saying, “You are trying to get us killed for responsibility in this man’s death” (author’s paraphrase).[4]
      • Exodus 23:7
      • Look at Ezekiel 33:7-11, thoughts?
    • [Οὐ] παραγγελίᾳ {C}

A majority of the Committee interpreted the absence of οὐ from several witnesses as due to their copyists’ desire to transform thereby the high priest’s question into a rebuke. In view, however, of the weight of the external evidence supporting the shorter reading, it was decided to print οὐ within square brackets.

[From the standpoint of transcriptional probability, it appears that οὐ is a scribal addition, occasioned by the influence of the verb ἐπηρώτησεν in ver. 27 (compare 4:17). For this reason, as well as the strong combination of 𝔓74 א* A B itd,  vg copsa ,  geo Lucifer al, the word should be omitted from the text. B.M.M.][5]

 

 

29Ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ Πέτρος καὶ οἱ ἀπόστολοι εἶπαν πειθαρχεῖν δεῖ θεῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ἀνθρώποις.

But Peter and the apostles answered and said, “it is necessary to obey God rather than men(man – plural)

  • We must (δει [dei]). Moral necessity left them no choice. They stood precisely where Peter and John were when before the Sanhedrin before (Acts 4:20). Obey (πειθαρχειν [peitharchein]). Old verb from πειθομαι [peithomai] and ἀρχη [archē], to obey a ruler. Only by Luke and Paul in the N. T.[6]
  • Peter, of course, was not trying to get the leaders killed but rather to get them saved.[7]
    • See Ezekiel 33:7-11 again
  • Peter’s reply to the accusation is a plainer and more direct reaffirmation of what he said in 4:19. A command of God, such as that given in 5:20, takes precedence over human commands. It is the price of being a Christian that one must be prepared to obey God rather than men—and bear the cost of doing so.[8]
  • It is a dangerous saying, subject to abuse and misappropriation; and one should be as clear as Peter was about what God’s purposes really are before ever using it.[9]

 

30ὁ θεὸς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν ἤγειρεν Ἰησοῦν ὃν ὑμεῖς διεχειρίσασθε κρεμάσαντες ἐπὶ ξύλου·

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you killed (by) hanging (him) on a tree

  • Peter refers to Deut. 21:23 as Paul does in Gal. 3:13, the curse pronounced on every one who “hangs upon a tree.”[10]
  • The phrase “hanging him on a tree” (kremasantes epi xylou) picks up on Deut. 21:22–23, which refers to the practice of exposing the body of an executed criminal; this public humiliation and shame corresponded to the fact that the person was cursed by God. [11]
    • “You thought that by crucifying him you were putting him under God’s curse, but in fact God exalted him.”[12]
  • Peter’s witness before the Sanhedrin was basically a summary of the Christian kerygma(preaching), as it had been at his first trial (4:10–12). The basic elements are all there—the guilt of the Jewish leaders for crucifying Jesus, the resurrection and exaltation, repentance and forgiveness in his name, the apostolic witness. There are some differences in detail. Jesus’ crucifixion is described as “hanging on a tree,” probably in allusion to Deut 21:23, an Old Testament text the early Christians saw as pointing to Christ.[13]
  • What Peter is emphasizing is that it was the ancestral God of the Jews who had done this. For the Jewish leaders to kill Jesus was to act against the God whom they claimed to worship.[14]
  • διεχειρίσασθε mid. δια-χειρίζω take in hand; HGK. lay hands on, euphemism for kill.[15]

 

31τοῦτον ὁ θεὸς ἀρχηγὸν καὶ σωτῆρα ὕψωσεν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ [τοῦ] δοῦναι μετάνοιαν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ καὶ ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν.

This one God has exalted, as prince and savior, to his right hand to grant repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins

  • Exalt (ὐψωσεν [upsōsen]) In contrast to their murder of Christ as in 2:23f. Peter repeats his charges with increased boldness.[16]
  • In v. 31 the exalted Christ is described as “Prince” and “Savior.” Neither term was new to Peter’s sermons. The first term occurred in his temple sermon (3:15), where it had the nuance of author or originator of the resurrection life. Here it has the sense of “leader” or “prince” but still in close connection with the new life he brings through repentance and forgiveness of sins. It is thus closely connected with the title “Savior,” which Peter had not used before. The concept of the salvation in his name, however, was at the very heart of his previous witness before the Sanhedrin (cf. 4:12). Here as there Peter’s purpose was the same—to demonstrate that Christ is indeed the risen Savior and to urge repentance and commitment to his name. Peter was issuing an invitation to the Sanhedrin.[17]
  • Here is the offer of salvation to the very people who had crucified Jesus; the apostles use the opportunity provided in court to preach the gospel to their accusers and judges. The description of Jesus resembles that of Moses in 7:35, and the implication is that the former now replaces the latter as the mediator of salvation to Israel. [18]
  • This is the first occurrence outside the Gospels of the description of Jesus as a Saviour, although the motif of salvation has already been used (2:21; 4:9, 12).[19]

 

32καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐσμεν μάρτυρες τῶν ῥημάτων τούτων καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ὃ ἔδωκεν ὁ θεὸς τοῖς πειθαρχοῦσιν αὐτῷ.

And we are witnesses of these things and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.

  • Peter claims the witness of the Holy Spirit to the raising of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, by the Father.[20]
  • The brief gospel message is confirmed by the witness of the apostles who could claim to have seen the risen Jesus. Along with them the Spirit is also named as a witness (1 John 5:7); the thought appears to be that the gift of the Spirit to the church is a further testimony to the reality of the exaltation of Jesus, since the Spirit is regarded as the gift of the exalted Messiah. Peter adds pointedly that it is those who obey God (verse 29!) who receive the Spirit.[21]
    • Who are Jesus’ brothers? – Mark 3:35
  • The key here is that they are witnesses, hence their testimony is real

 

[1] Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 168). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2] Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Ac 5:28). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[3] Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 168). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 169). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Metzger, B. M., United Bible Societies. (1994). A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament, second edition a companion volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed.) (p. 289). London; New York: United Bible Societies.

[6] Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Ac 5:29). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[7] Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 169). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[8] Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, p. 126). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[9] Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 169). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[10] Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Ac 5:30). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[11] Marshall, I. H. (2007). Acts. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (p. 555). Grand Rapids, MI;  Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic;  Apollos.

[12] Marshall, I. H. (2007). Acts. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (p. 555). Grand Rapids, MI;  Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic;  Apollos.

[13] Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 169). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[14] Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, p. 126). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[15] Zerwick, M., & Grosvenor, M. (1974). A grammatical analysis of the Greek New Testament (p. 367). Rome: Biblical Institute Press.

[16] Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Ac 5:31). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[17] Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 170). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[18] Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, p. 127). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[19] Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, p. 127). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[20] Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Ac 5:32). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[21] Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, p. 127). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.