Acts to Revelation | Episode 2 | TBN

Acts to Revelation | Episode 2

Watch Acts to Revelation | Episode 2
April 18, 2018
27:30

Drive Thru History: Acts to Revelation

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Acts to Revelation | Episode 2

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  • Dave Stotts: In our last episode of "Drive Thru History," we
  • 00:00:05.250 --> 00:00:08.050
  • returned to the life of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded
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  • in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
  • 00:00:11.140 --> 00:00:15.090
  • We reexamined the impact of his brutal crucifixion
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  • and his miraculous resurrection, and set the stage for what
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  • happened after Jesus left the scene.
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  • We followed his small band of disciples back to Jerusalem,
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  • where they were instructed to wait and pray.
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  • We explored the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost,
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  • when an amazing event transformed these formerly
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  • timid students into bold teachers of the gospel.
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  • Peter delivered his first sermon to a crowd of amazed
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  • onlookers from many nations.
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  • About 3.000 people trusted in his message of repentance and
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  • forgiveness, believing that Jesus truly was the Son of God.
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  • The expanding movement started meeting in homes throughout
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  • Jerusalem, and the apostles continued preaching
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  • the gospel in the temple complex.
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  • The Way, as it was called, was accepted as truth by many
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  • of the common people, but was considered a growing
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  • threat to the religious authorities of Judaism.
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  • Tension was building in Jerusalem.
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  • What would happen next?
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  • 00:01:31.080 --> 00:01:41.060
  • 00:01:41.140 --> 00:01:51.100
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  • Dave: With the eyes of the religious establishment
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  • watching, the apostles continued meeting and preaching here
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  • at Solomon's Colonnade on the Temple Mount.
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  • In addition to Peter, the other main voice was John.
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  • Recall that John was a close friend of Jesus
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  • and an eyewitness to his crucifixion.
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  • Scripture records that the dying Jesus looked down from the cross
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  • and gave John the special job of taking care of his mother, Mary.
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  • John went on to write his gospel, three epistles or
  • 00:02:52.250 --> 00:02:56.200
  • letters, and Revelation, the final book of
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  • the Bible's New Testament.
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  • John joins peter each day as they enter the temple complex,
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  • and made their way here to Solomon's Colonnade
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  • on the Temple Mount, very near the Beautiful Gate.
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  • Now, in addition to some Jewish worshipers who were interested
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  • in hearing more about this new Way, there were many sick and
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  • disabled people who had set up shop in this same area each day,
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  • begging for money as people were entering the temple complex.
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  • One day, Peter and John met a man in his 40s
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  • who had been crippled since birth.
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  • "When they approached him, he asked them for money.
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  • Instead of money, however, Peter simply said, 'Silver or
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  • gold I do not have, but what I do have, I give to you.
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  • In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'
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  • Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly
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  • the man's feet and ankles became strong.
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  • He jumped to his feet and began to walk.
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  • Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking
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  • and jumping and praising God.
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  • When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they
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  • recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the
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  • temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with
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  • wonder and amazement at what had happened to him,"
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  • Acts 3:6 through 9.
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  • Now, imagine someone saying, "Hey, you know that crippled
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  • beggar that's always hanging out at the Beautiful Gate?
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  • Yeah, these two guys came over and healed him,
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  • and now he's running around."
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  • As you would imagine, word spread and crowds gathered.
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  • Peter got up, as he had done just a few days earlier, and
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  • began to declare to them that the power to heal
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  • came from Jesus alone.
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  • He went on to tell them about the power of the crucifixion
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  • and resurrection of Jesus, and how those events
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  • were the fulfillment of ancient prophecy.
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  • Many people who heard Peter preach the gospel message
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  • here that day believed in that message.
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  • And incredibly, the church grew to over 5.000 men that day.
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  • "Later, while Peter and John were still speaking, the
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  • Sadducees, priests, and temple guards approached the apostles,
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  • greatly disturbed that they were teaching the people
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  • about Jesus and his resurrection from the dead."
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  • The Sadducees were the powerful group of Jewish
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  • leaders who ran the temple and conducted other political
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  • and social roles in Jerusalem.
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  • They also rejected the concepts of resurrection and
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  • the afterlife, which were key pieces of the gospel message.
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  • Another reason why the Sadducees were so irritated
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  • is likely because they enjoyed positions of great
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  • power and influence, which stood to diminish the more the
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  • people listened to Jesus' disciples.
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  • The Sadducees were already not that popular with the common
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  • people of Jerusalem because of their great power and wealth,
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  • and cozy relationship with the Romans.
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  • As evening approached, the temple guards were finally
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  • ordered to throw Peter and John in jail for the night.
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  • The next day, the rulers, the elders, and the teachers
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  • of the Mosaic law met in Jerusalem.
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  • Annas, the high priest of Judaism, was there, and so was
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  • Caiaphas, who played a major role in the trial of Jesus.
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  • Clearly, these religious leaders already had a contentious
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  • history with Jesus and his followers, so they had Peter and
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  • John brought before them, and began to question them
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  • about healing the crippled man.
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  • "'By what power or what name did you do this?'
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  • Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them,
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  • 'Rulers and elders of the people, if we are being called
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  • to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man
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  • who was lame, and are being asked how
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  • he was healed, then know this.
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  • You and all the people of Israel, it is by the name of
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  • Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, but whom God
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  • raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.'"
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  • Acts 4:7 through 10.
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  • Peter's next words were profound because in them lies
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  • the key to understanding the gospel message.
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  • He said, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there
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  • is no other name under heaven given to mankind
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  • by which we must be saved," Acts 4:12.
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  • Peter's words echoed the words of Jesus that he had just spoken
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  • to the disciples, including Peter just a few weeks earlier,
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  • when he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.
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  • No one comes to the Father except through me," John 14:6.
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  • Peter was finally connecting the dots for his audience.
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  • The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus
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  • was the power of the gospel message.
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  • The religious leaders decided to let Peter and John go, but with
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  • a warning to stop teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus.
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  • But Peter and John replied, "Which is right in the eyes of
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  • God, to listen to you or to him?
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  • You be the judges.
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  • As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we
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  • have seen and heard," Acts 4:19 and 20.
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  • Although exasperated, the religious leaders
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  • stopped their questioning.
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  • They threatened Peter and John one more time,
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  • and then released them.
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  • Peter and John then went back to their people and reported on
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  • everything that had happened.
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  • Everyone celebrated, and everyone praised God.
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  • The apostles continued to teach at Solomon's Colonnade,
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  • commonly known as the portico.
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  • More and more, men and women believed in Jesus as their
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  • Messiah, and were added to the church.
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  • The apostles continued to perform miracles, and crowds
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  • continued to come from nearby towns all around Jerusalem.
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  • As Luke records, they brought their sick and those afflicted
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  • with impure spirits, and all of them were healed.
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  • "Then the high priest and all his associates who were members
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  • of the party of the Sadducees were filled with jealousy.
  • 00:09:20.220 --> 00:09:24.240
  • They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.
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  • But during the night, an angel of the Lord opened the doors
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  • of the jail and brought them out.
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  • 'Go stand in the temple courts,' he said, 'and tell the people
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  • all about this new life,'" Acts 5:17 through 20.
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  • That next morning, the apostles did what they
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  • were told, and they went back into the temple complex
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  • and started teaching again.
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  • Apparently, the high priest and the Sadducees were too busy to
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  • notice because they were still calling together the
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  • full council of the Sanhedrin, sort of like a Jewish
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  • supreme court for religious matters to hear the case.
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  • They were all set to go when the guards came back
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  • with some bad news.
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  • They said this, "We found the jail securely locked,
  • 00:10:11.020 --> 00:10:14.270
  • with the guards standing at the doors.
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  • But when we opened them, we found no one inside," Acts 5:23.
  • 00:10:17.060 --> 00:10:22.220
  • "Then someone came and said, 'Look, the men
  • 00:10:22.230 --> 00:10:25.100
  • you put in jail are standing in the temple courts,
  • 00:10:25.110 --> 00:10:28.220
  • teaching the people,'" Acts 5:25.
  • 00:10:28.230 --> 00:10:32.000
  • So, that had to have been a real, "Wait, what?" moment.
  • 00:10:32.010 --> 00:10:36.010
  • So, the captain went with his officers to the temple complex
  • 00:10:36.020 --> 00:10:40.020
  • and again arrested the apostles.
  • 00:10:40.030 --> 00:10:42.230
  • However, they were careful not to use force
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  • because they were afraid of the people.
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  • The apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin
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  • and questioned by the high priest.
  • 00:10:51.100 --> 00:10:54.070
  • Peter and the other apostles declared, "We
  • 00:10:54.080 --> 00:10:57.130
  • must obey God rather than human beings.
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  • The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead,
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  • whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.
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  • God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior,
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  • that he might bring Israel to repentance
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  • and forgive their sins.
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  • We are witnesses of these things," Acts 5:29 through 32.
  • 00:11:17.240 --> 00:11:24.070
  • When the religious authorities heard this, they were furious
  • 00:11:24.080 --> 00:11:27.120
  • and wanted to put the apostles to death.
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  • But a Pharisee named Gamaliel stood up in the
  • 00:11:30.100 --> 00:11:33.130
  • council of the Sanhedrin and ordered that the apostles
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  • be removed from the chamber.
  • 00:11:36.230 --> 00:11:39.090
  • According to Luke's account, Gamaliel was a man held, quote,
  • 00:11:39.100 --> 00:11:43.290
  • "In honor by all the people."
  • 00:11:44.000 --> 00:11:46.230
  • So, clearly this was a man who carried a lot of weight.
  • 00:11:46.240 --> 00:11:50.060
  • "Gamaliel addressed the council, 'I advise you,
  • 00:11:50.070 --> 00:11:53.160
  • leave these men alone.
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  • Let them go.
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  • For if their purpose of activity is of human origin,
  • 00:11:57.120 --> 00:12:00.130
  • it will fail.
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  • But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men.
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  • You will only find yourselves fighting against God,'"
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  • Acts 5:38 and 39.
  • 00:12:08.250 --> 00:12:13.060
  • Gamaliel's speech persuaded the council.
  • 00:12:13.070 --> 00:12:16.110
  • Instead of a sentence of death, the apostles were beaten and
  • 00:12:16.120 --> 00:12:20.040
  • warned again not to speak in the name of Jesus, and released.
  • 00:12:20.050 --> 00:12:25.190
  • The apostles left the Sanhedrin rejoicing because they had been
  • 00:12:25.200 --> 00:12:29.070
  • counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus.
  • 00:12:29.080 --> 00:12:33.110
  • "Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house,
  • 00:12:33.120 --> 00:12:37.030
  • they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the
  • 00:12:37.040 --> 00:12:39.170
  • good news that Jesus is the Messiah."
  • 00:12:39.180 --> 00:12:42.120
  • Acts 5:42.
  • 00:12:42.130 --> 00:12:45.080
  • As the church continued to grow, Acts tells us that the assembly
  • 00:12:45.090 --> 00:12:49.020
  • of believers were, quote, "One in hearts and mind,
  • 00:12:49.030 --> 00:12:53.030
  • sharing everything they had.
  • 00:12:53.040 --> 00:12:55.170
  • With great power, the apostles continued to testify
  • 00:12:55.180 --> 00:12:58.260
  • to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
  • 00:12:58.270 --> 00:13:01.240
  • And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all
  • 00:13:01.250 --> 00:13:05.020
  • that there were no needy persons among them," Acts 4:33 and 34.
  • 00:13:05.030 --> 00:13:11.050
  • The followers of the Way faced some growing pains.
  • 00:13:13.230 --> 00:13:16.230
  • Like any group, especially one expanding so quickly, squabbles
  • 00:13:16.240 --> 00:13:20.290
  • and tensions were inevitable, even among followers of Jesus.
  • 00:13:21.000 --> 00:13:25.030
  • Kind of like when my brothers and I argue about theology,
  • 00:13:25.040 --> 00:13:27.270
  • I love saying things like, "Look, you do it your way,
  • 00:13:27.280 --> 00:13:30.020
  • and I'll do it God's."
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  • They love it when I say that.
  • 00:13:32.090 --> 00:13:35.140
  • Luke identified two main groups in this early church,
  • 00:13:35.150 --> 00:13:39.110
  • Hellenists and Hebrews.
  • 00:13:39.120 --> 00:13:42.060
  • According to Acts, not only were these two groups divided
  • 00:13:42.070 --> 00:13:45.050
  • by language and culture, the Hellenists felt that
  • 00:13:45.060 --> 00:13:48.190
  • the Hebrews were overlooking their widows
  • 00:13:48.200 --> 00:13:51.200
  • in the daily distribution of food and necessities.
  • 00:13:51.210 --> 00:13:57.180
  • The apostles didn't want division,
  • 00:13:57.190 --> 00:13:59.290
  • so they called a special meeting.
  • 00:14:00.020 --> 00:14:02.100
  • The apostles needed a new layer of administrators
  • 00:14:02.110 --> 00:14:05.080
  • to handle these types of matters so that they could
  • 00:14:05.090 --> 00:14:08.060
  • focus on teaching and preaching.
  • 00:14:08.070 --> 00:14:12.080
  • The general assembly agreed that seven reputable men filled with
  • 00:14:12.090 --> 00:14:16.130
  • the Spirit and wisdom would be chosen to serve in this role.
  • 00:14:16.140 --> 00:14:21.160
  • They were called deacons, derived from the Greek word
  • 00:14:21.170 --> 00:14:24.270
  • meaning servant or waiter.
  • 00:14:24.280 --> 00:14:27.230
  • The group chose Stephen, a man full of faith
  • 00:14:27.240 --> 00:14:30.230
  • and of the Holy Spirit.
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  • Also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
  • 00:14:32.260 --> 00:14:37.290
  • and Nicholas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
  • 00:14:38.000 --> 00:14:42.220
  • They presented these men to the apostles,
  • 00:14:42.230 --> 00:14:45.160
  • who prayed and laid their hands on them.
  • 00:14:45.170 --> 00:14:49.150
  • At this point, the church was becoming more organized.
  • 00:14:49.160 --> 00:14:53.050
  • This would help the apostles in furthering the mission that
  • 00:14:53.060 --> 00:14:56.050
  • Jesus gave them to do, which was to spread the gospel message.
  • 00:14:56.060 --> 00:15:00.100
  • The number of believers in Jerusalem was increasing
  • 00:15:00.110 --> 00:15:03.250
  • rapidly, and even a large number of Jewish priests
  • 00:15:03.260 --> 00:15:06.230
  • had become believers in Jesus.
  • 00:15:06.240 --> 00:15:09.100
  • One of the seven new deacons, Stephen, was a charismatic
  • 00:15:14.260 --> 00:15:18.010
  • leader, working great wonders and signs among the people.
  • 00:15:18.020 --> 00:15:22.210
  • Opponents of the gospel attempted to debate with him,
  • 00:15:22.220 --> 00:15:26.060
  • but quote, "They could not withstand the wisdom
  • 00:15:26.070 --> 00:15:29.110
  • and spirit with which he spoke.
  • 00:15:29.120 --> 00:15:31.180
  • Stephen was bold and brash.
  • 00:15:31.190 --> 00:15:34.040
  • He was a fearless proponent of the
  • 00:15:34.050 --> 00:15:36.130
  • good news of Jesus' resurrection.
  • 00:15:36.140 --> 00:15:40.160
  • Because they couldn't beat him on the merits of his arguments,
  • 00:15:44.130 --> 00:15:47.030
  • Stephen's adversaries turned to a more barbaric plan.
  • 00:15:47.040 --> 00:15:51.020
  • They went to the religious leaders and accused Stephen
  • 00:15:51.030 --> 00:15:53.170
  • of publicly blaspheming both God and Moses,
  • 00:15:53.180 --> 00:15:56.290
  • a crime punishable by death.
  • 00:15:57.000 --> 00:15:59.150
  • They even brought witnesses to testify against him.
  • 00:15:59.160 --> 00:16:03.010
  • So, Stephen was arrested and brought
  • 00:16:03.020 --> 00:16:05.050
  • before the council of the Sanhedrin.
  • 00:16:05.060 --> 00:16:08.180
  • As was customary, Stephen was given the opportunity to defend
  • 00:16:10.140 --> 00:16:13.050
  • himself, and he went on to deliver a remarkably courageous
  • 00:16:13.060 --> 00:16:16.080
  • speech, where he carefully summarized Israelite history,
  • 00:16:16.090 --> 00:16:21.010
  • up to and including the building of the first
  • 00:16:21.020 --> 00:16:23.220
  • temple here in Jerusalem.
  • 00:16:23.230 --> 00:16:26.140
  • Stephen connected the ancient rituals of the Mosaic law
  • 00:16:26.150 --> 00:16:29.110
  • to the new order of things brought about by Jesus.
  • 00:16:29.120 --> 00:16:33.200
  • In short, Stephen was alluding to a new way of worshiping God
  • 00:16:33.210 --> 00:16:38.020
  • made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • 00:16:38.030 --> 00:16:41.270
  • This new Way was a direct challenge to the religious
  • 00:16:41.280 --> 00:16:45.210
  • authorities that Stephen was testifying to.
  • 00:16:45.220 --> 00:16:49.090
  • Incredibly, Stephen did not hold back
  • 00:16:49.100 --> 00:16:51.220
  • on delivering the unvarnished truth, even
  • 00:16:51.230 --> 00:16:55.000
  • though he knew his life was on the line.
  • 00:16:55.010 --> 00:16:59.150
  • He was staunchly direct, "You stiff-necked people,
  • 00:16:59.160 --> 00:17:03.190
  • you are just like your ancestors.
  • 00:17:03.200 --> 00:17:06.030
  • Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute?
  • 00:17:06.040 --> 00:17:09.290
  • They put to death those who foretold the coming of the
  • 00:17:10.000 --> 00:17:12.140
  • righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers
  • 00:17:12.150 --> 00:17:15.200
  • you have now become," Acts 7:51 and 52.
  • 00:17:15.210 --> 00:17:21.060
  • When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this,
  • 00:17:22.050 --> 00:17:24.070
  • they were furious and cried out against him.
  • 00:17:24.080 --> 00:17:26.290
  • But calmly, Stephen gazed up to heaven.
  • 00:17:27.000 --> 00:17:31.000
  • "Look," he said, "'I see heaven open,
  • 00:17:31.010 --> 00:17:33.250
  • and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'
  • 00:17:33.260 --> 00:17:38.040
  • At this, they covered their ears.
  • 00:17:38.050 --> 00:17:40.190
  • And yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him,
  • 00:17:40.200 --> 00:17:43.280
  • dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him.
  • 00:17:43.290 --> 00:17:48.040
  • Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the
  • 00:17:48.050 --> 00:17:50.210
  • feet of a young man named Saul.
  • 00:17:50.220 --> 00:17:54.200
  • While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed,
  • 00:17:54.210 --> 00:17:57.120
  • 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'
  • 00:17:57.130 --> 00:18:01.040
  • Then he fell on his knees and cried out,
  • 00:18:01.050 --> 00:18:04.220
  • 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.'
  • 00:18:04.230 --> 00:18:08.150
  • When he had said this, he fell asleep," Acts 7:56 through 60.
  • 00:18:08.160 --> 00:18:15.020
  • Stephen was the first person murdered because of his belief
  • 00:18:16.150 --> 00:18:20.130
  • in Jesus Christ, what we refer to as a martyr.
  • 00:18:20.140 --> 00:18:23.130
  • Now, being stoned was a slow and cruel death,
  • 00:18:23.140 --> 00:18:27.200
  • but Stephen endured it through his bold faith.
  • 00:18:27.210 --> 00:18:30.240
  • He even asked God to have mercy on these merciless men, just as
  • 00:18:30.250 --> 00:18:35.220
  • Jesus had done while dying slowly on the cross.
  • 00:18:35.230 --> 00:18:40.010
  • Following this brutal event, Luke records that, "On that day,
  • 00:18:40.020 --> 00:18:44.250
  • a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem,
  • 00:18:44.260 --> 00:18:49.090
  • and all except the apostles were scattered throughout
  • 00:18:49.100 --> 00:18:52.090
  • Judea and Samaria.
  • 00:18:52.100 --> 00:18:54.240
  • Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him,
  • 00:18:54.250 --> 00:18:58.250
  • but Saul began to destroy the church.
  • 00:18:58.260 --> 00:19:02.090
  • Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women,
  • 00:19:02.100 --> 00:19:06.270
  • and put them in prison," Acts 8:1 through 3.
  • 00:19:06.280 --> 00:19:13.060
  • According to Luke's account, Stephen was dragged out of the
  • 00:19:13.070 --> 00:19:17.020
  • northwest gate of the city of Jerusalem, likely taken to a
  • 00:19:17.030 --> 00:19:22.100
  • ledge or an elevated place, and thrown down and stoned.
  • 00:19:22.110 --> 00:19:27.160
  • Now, the likely location for that gate is behind us to the
  • 00:19:27.170 --> 00:19:30.240
  • south, inside the walls of what is today the old city.
  • 00:19:30.250 --> 00:19:34.290
  • Now, the gate you see here today was built in 1537 under the rule
  • 00:19:35.000 --> 00:19:39.280
  • of Suleiman the Magnificent, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
  • 00:19:39.290 --> 00:19:44.200
  • It's still one of the main entrances
  • 00:19:44.210 --> 00:19:46.200
  • to the old city of Jerusalem.
  • 00:19:46.210 --> 00:19:49.070
  • But the gate during the time of Stephen would
  • 00:19:49.080 --> 00:19:51.140
  • have been behind us to the south.
  • 00:19:51.150 --> 00:19:54.280
  • So, here we are beneath the big gate that dates
  • 00:19:57.070 --> 00:19:59.140
  • back to the Ottoman period.
  • 00:19:59.150 --> 00:20:01.180
  • Now, come over here and you'll see what's beneath it.
  • 00:20:01.190 --> 00:20:04.100
  • It's an ancient gate that dates back to the first century.
  • 00:20:04.110 --> 00:20:08.170
  • Now, the gate you can see has been reconstructed during the
  • 00:20:08.180 --> 00:20:11.190
  • reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian in about 130 AD.
  • 00:20:11.200 --> 00:20:16.140
  • As we learned in the "Gospels" series, it was Hadrian who was
  • 00:20:16.150 --> 00:20:19.160
  • responsible for the rebuilding of Jerusalem in the early second
  • 00:20:19.170 --> 00:20:23.130
  • century, and the renaming of the city to honor himself
  • 00:20:23.140 --> 00:20:27.050
  • and the Roman God Jupiter.
  • 00:20:27.060 --> 00:20:29.290
  • Right there above me, one stone above the lintel of the arch,
  • 00:20:30.000 --> 00:20:34.180
  • you can still see the very worn Latin inscription honoring the
  • 00:20:34.190 --> 00:20:38.280
  • city's new Roman name, Colonia Aelia Capitolina.
  • 00:20:38.290 --> 00:20:44.100
  • So, that's the story of the Damascus gate, a gate that would
  • 00:20:44.110 --> 00:20:48.090
  • later be called by some Porta Sancta Stefani, which is Latin
  • 00:20:48.100 --> 00:20:52.170
  • for Saint Stephen's Gate as early as the third century,
  • 00:20:52.180 --> 00:20:56.240
  • because Stephen was stoned very near this location.
  • 00:20:56.250 --> 00:21:01.200
  • A number of Christian traditions still commemorate
  • 00:21:07.190 --> 00:21:10.070
  • the martyrdom of Stephen.
  • 00:21:10.080 --> 00:21:12.210
  • The Feast of Stephen is celebrated on December 26 or 27,
  • 00:21:12.220 --> 00:21:16.250
  • depending on where you live.
  • 00:21:16.260 --> 00:21:18.290
  • Stephen's faith and deeds live on in the names of thousands
  • 00:21:19.000 --> 00:21:23.160
  • of churches, schools, and hospitals around the world.
  • 00:21:23.170 --> 00:21:27.170
  • 00:21:28.060 --> 00:21:37.270
  • 00:21:38.080 --> 00:21:48.080
  • Dave: I'm just north of the Damascus gates, on the grounds
  • 00:21:48.280 --> 00:21:51.250
  • of Saint Stephen's Church and Monastery.
  • 00:21:51.260 --> 00:21:55.110
  • This is the traditional site for the stoning and
  • 00:21:55.120 --> 00:21:58.080
  • later burial of Saint Stephen.
  • 00:21:58.090 --> 00:22:01.060
  • Here's the story of this place.
  • 00:22:01.070 --> 00:22:05.100
  • During the fifth century, an empress of the Byzantine Empire
  • 00:22:05.110 --> 00:22:09.080
  • named Eudocia was banished to Jerusalem.
  • 00:22:09.090 --> 00:22:12.140
  • While here, she converted to Christianity and financed all
  • 00:22:12.150 --> 00:22:16.030
  • sorts of charitable works, including the construction
  • 00:22:16.040 --> 00:22:19.070
  • of at least six major churches.
  • 00:22:19.080 --> 00:22:23.140
  • One of Eudocia's big projects was marking the location
  • 00:22:23.150 --> 00:22:28.000
  • for Stephen's execution.
  • 00:22:28.010 --> 00:22:30.120
  • She ended up spending the last 17 years of her life building a
  • 00:22:30.130 --> 00:22:34.140
  • massive monastery complex dedicated to Stephen that,
  • 00:22:34.150 --> 00:22:39.110
  • when completed, could house 10.000 monks.
  • 00:22:39.120 --> 00:22:44.190
  • During this time, a church was built over a specific rock
  • 00:22:46.290 --> 00:22:51.030
  • formation, the traditional site for the martyrdom of Stephen.
  • 00:22:51.040 --> 00:22:55.140
  • Now, while we don't know the exact location of the stoning
  • 00:22:55.150 --> 00:22:58.290
  • of Stephen, this site has a long tradition
  • 00:22:59.000 --> 00:23:03.010
  • with Christian pilgrims to the area.
  • 00:23:03.020 --> 00:23:06.260
  • According to a fifth century account, Stephen's tomb was also
  • 00:23:08.010 --> 00:23:11.170
  • rediscovered during this period, and Eudocia had his remains
  • 00:23:11.180 --> 00:23:15.280
  • relocated to this church.
  • 00:23:15.290 --> 00:23:18.170
  • We don't know much more other than the church
  • 00:23:18.180 --> 00:23:21.100
  • and monastery were totally destroyed in the 12th century,
  • 00:23:21.110 --> 00:23:25.060
  • and Eudocia's work was lost to history.
  • 00:23:25.070 --> 00:23:29.210
  • That is, until the Dominican order of France came to
  • 00:23:29.220 --> 00:23:33.040
  • Jerusalem in the late 19th century to establish a new
  • 00:23:33.050 --> 00:23:37.160
  • monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen.
  • 00:23:37.170 --> 00:23:41.000
  • The group ended up purchasing four plots of land just north of
  • 00:23:41.010 --> 00:23:45.020
  • the Damascus Gate because they were intrigued by some ruins
  • 00:23:45.030 --> 00:23:49.120
  • that were sticking up among the olive groves in the area.
  • 00:23:49.130 --> 00:23:54.090
  • You see, in addition to being monks, the Dominicans were
  • 00:23:54.100 --> 00:23:56.190
  • also known to be excellent archaeologists.
  • 00:23:56.200 --> 00:23:59.160
  • They ultimately uncovered the walls and mosaic floors of
  • 00:23:59.170 --> 00:24:03.110
  • Eudocia's long lost church, and reconstructed the building
  • 00:24:03.120 --> 00:24:07.270
  • according to its original dimensions.
  • 00:24:07.280 --> 00:24:10.270
  • This is what we see here today, Saint Stephen's Church,
  • 00:24:10.280 --> 00:24:14.150
  • the traditional location for the execution
  • 00:24:14.160 --> 00:24:17.060
  • and burial of Christianity's first martyr.
  • 00:24:17.070 --> 00:24:22.090
  • The young Judean man who was standing on the sidelines
  • 00:24:22.100 --> 00:24:25.180
  • during Stephen's execution was named Saul.
  • 00:24:25.190 --> 00:24:28.260
  • We'll learn more about Saul in later episodes,
  • 00:24:28.270 --> 00:24:31.230
  • but it's safe to say that Saul had a deep hatred
  • 00:24:31.240 --> 00:24:35.090
  • for the outspoken disciples of Jesus.
  • 00:24:35.100 --> 00:24:38.130
  • In fact, he saw it as his duty to help exterminate
  • 00:24:38.140 --> 00:24:41.180
  • this growing movement.
  • 00:24:41.190 --> 00:24:43.160
  • At this point in history, the Way was under
  • 00:24:43.170 --> 00:24:46.250
  • full assault here in Jerusalem.
  • 00:24:46.260 --> 00:24:50.010
  • The belief that Jesus was the Son of God, and that he was
  • 00:24:50.020 --> 00:24:54.030
  • bringing an end to the Mosaic law, was becoming a real threat
  • 00:24:54.040 --> 00:24:59.050
  • to the established rules and rituals entrenched in this city.
  • 00:24:59.060 --> 00:25:03.210
  • And speaking of mosaic, you can still see an original mosaic
  • 00:25:03.220 --> 00:25:08.290
  • dating back to the 400s, when the church was first built here.
  • 00:25:09.000 --> 00:25:14.180
  • As a result of the severe persecution, many followers of
  • 00:25:17.090 --> 00:25:20.100
  • Jesus moved out of Jerusalem and into the villages of Judea,
  • 00:25:20.110 --> 00:25:24.200
  • Samaria, and beyond.
  • 00:25:24.210 --> 00:25:27.020
  • Recall the final words of Jesus to his followers
  • 00:25:27.030 --> 00:25:30.150
  • before he ascended to heaven, "And you will be
  • 00:25:30.160 --> 00:25:34.110
  • my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria,
  • 00:25:34.120 --> 00:25:39.200
  • and to the ends of the earth," Acts 1:8.
  • 00:25:39.210 --> 00:25:44.050
  • Judea, Samaria, and beyond.
  • 00:25:44.060 --> 00:25:47.150
  • It was persecution that drove many of these disciples out of
  • 00:25:47.160 --> 00:25:51.240
  • Jerusalem and into their next missions in these places.
  • 00:25:51.250 --> 00:25:56.170
  • It was persecution that continued to be a driving force
  • 00:25:56.180 --> 00:26:01.020
  • in spreading the gospel message throughout the world.
  • 00:26:01.030 --> 00:26:04.220
  • 00:26:05.110 --> 00:26:07.260
  • 00:26:08.240 --> 00:26:18.130
  • 00:26:18.250 --> 00:26:28.250
  • 00:26:29.010 --> 00:26:38.170
  • 00:26:39.050 --> 00:26:48.280
  • 00:26:49.080 --> 00:26:59.040
  • 00:26:59.120 --> 00:27:04.070
  • 00:27:11.020 --> 00:27:20.280
  • 00:27:21.130 --> 00:27:28.140