Acts 4 shows us the first hints of the persecution that will face the church, as well as a deeper glimpse into the spiritual bankruptcy of the Temple.
During His ministry, Jesus clashed several times with the Temple and the political faction called the Sadducees that controlled it. During the Passion Week, Jesus threw out the money changers, and was asked “gotcha” questions by the priests. He prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed, and the High Priest was quick to send Jesus to Pilate to be crucified.
No doubt it was a shock to the High Priest and his allies that killing Jesus didn’t stop His followers. Here they thought that this whole Messiah nonsense was all wrapped up and buried, and then here are His followers still performing miracles and stirring up trouble!
As the High Priests and his council debate what to do, did you notice what they didn’t ask? They talk about the legal and political consequences, about witnesses and riots, but they never once wonder about what’s true. They don’t seek God’s will or fear that they actually killed the Messiah. They were supposed to be the High Priests of God, safeguarding the Temple - the place where the Spirit of God lives on earth! But all they care about is their position and status.
So if the Temple won’t do its job, then God will have to make a new one - a new place on earth for His Spirit to dwell. And not just one, but many. Now His Spirit won’t live in a building made from stone, but in the hearts of His people. The chapter ends with God sending the Holy Spirit, who He had already given to the Twelve, to all His people. Each of them new Temples, sent out into the world to draw people to Him.
This is a legacy we uphold. Each of us who believes is a Temple to the Most High God, a place on earth where His Spirit abides. And each of us is presented with the same temptation as those priests who ran the Temple in Peter’s day - will we fulfill the mission God has given us, or will we waste our time on earth consumed by our own popularity and comfort.