Summary: When Acts describes the arrest of Peter and John, under the authority of the Sadducean Jerusalem aristocracy, it’s important for interpreters to be clear about who the opponents are. It’s also important for preachers to be aware of how Acts has fueled anti-Jewish attitudes and theologies over the centuries. The passage itself is mainly concerned with elevating the name of Jesus, which refers to the power of Jesus. That power was on display in the previous chapter, when Peter called on the name of Jesus to bring about a miraculous healing. Peter again directs attention to that power when he addresses the authorities, implicitly criticizing them for being poor leaders who rejected Jesus, the manifestation of God’s salvation. This is one of many episodes in Acts that celebrates the ways that God minimizes and embarrasses those who purport to hold sway over human societies.
I wrote this biblical commentary for those preparing to preach or teach on the passage. Read the commentary at Working Preacher.