5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” Acts 4:5-7
We can’t know this for sure, but it’s a good bet that these same leaders met well into the night talking about what they should do with these two men. The first question they asked them was perhaps the most insightful question: “who gave you authority to do this?” These leaders practically worshiped authority structures. It’s very similar to bureaucracies.
In a typical bureaucracy, the “low man on the totem pole” doesn’t do a thing until his chain of command tells him it’s okay. Often a person will have to get several approvals, each from someone higher in the chain. just to get a minor thing done. That can take weeks or months depending on how bloated the bureaucracy is.
These leaders knew who Peter and John were; they were merely testing them. This is the first time that Peter and John would be brought before political and religious leaders. It was something Jesus taught them in Matthew 10:18, “On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.”
Was it a “what did I get myself involved in” moment or something else?
Something big happened on the Day of Pentecost that is hard to put into words. When the Holy Spirit came upon them, their lives were forever changed. From that point on, they knew what they had to do. They didn’t quite know what they’d be up against but they knew they needed to proclaim the power and authority of Jesus Christ.
Everything leading up to Pentecost was foundational for what would happen in that upper room. As we’ll see in the next few verses, they were as bold in front of the rulers as they were in front of the people. The difference was the fear of jail time if they didn’t obey.
They were officially “all in.”