4:5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, 6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”
There is a reason why throughout history religion has held so much power. Secular governments can only touch our lives in this world but religion lays claim to the favour of God and in most cases to our eternal destiny. That's a much broader sweep of power than mere government has. The more people become enslaved to religion the more power its leaders have. Such was the case in Jerusalem. Religion was not part of Jewish life, it was their lives. Everything revolved around it. The Temple was the center of the entire nation. Those who ran the Temple and anything associated with their faith held the power.
When Jesus came on the scene the power of the religious leaders began to crumble. The Sadducees had been teaching that there was no life after death yet Jesus raised the dead and then walked out of the tomb Himself. The priests and scribes taught rigid rules that were to be followed strictly yet Jesus ignored many of them. The religious leaders laid claim to tradition and centuries of rabbinical teachings to back their authority. Jesus walked on water and fed thousands with a single lunch. He based His authority on the simple and plain writings of Scripture.
The rulers and priests had no answers for Jesus even though they tried everything to trick Him and get Him to embarrass Himself publicly on some religious technicality like paying taxes to Caesar. Finally they had but one move left. In order to preserve their hold on the people Jesus had to die.
What they did not count on was what followed. First He didn't stay dead. That was bad enough. Worse was that His followers became emboldened by His resurrection. First they began preaching in the streets about Him and now they are doing miracles just like He had done. What would the people do if this continued and the death of the long awaited Messiah was pinned (and rightfully so) on them?
These men must be stopped.
So they arrested Peter and John, let them spend the night in jail but the next day something odd happened. All the "who's who" of the Jewish leaders came together and asked just one question: "By what power or by what name have you done all this?"
It's odd because the question gives away the fact they already know the answer and everyone knows they know the answer anyway. When we continue tomorrow we'll see that it gets even more bizarre. Just the fact that two simple fishermen have grabbed the attention of every significant Jewish leader in Jerusalem should tell us something. They are feeling the pressure and have no idea what to do about it.
When you stand with Jesus you don't need any clout behind you. When you stand against Him all the clout in the world is not nearly enough...