Acts 4:1-31 NIV
Peter and John Before the Sanhedrin
1The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.3They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.
5The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them:
“By what power or what name did you do this?”
8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them:
“Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10then know this, you and all the people of Israel:
It is by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified but Whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11Jesus is
“ ‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’a
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
13When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.
15So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16“What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this Name.”
18Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus.
19But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to Him? You be the judges! 20As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
21After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
The Believers Pray
23On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“ ‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your Holy Servant Jesus, Whom you anointed. 28They did what Your Power and Will had decided beforehand should happen. 29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your Word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the Name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.”
31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.
The Sanhedrin (Hebrew: סַנְהֶדְרִין sanhedrîn, Greek: συνέδριον synedrion, "sitting together," hence "assembly" or "council") was an assembly of twenty to twenty-three men appointed in every city in the biblical Land of Israel.
In some cases, it was only necessary for a 23-member panel (functioning as a Lesser Sanhedrin) to convene. In general, the full panel of 71 judges was only convened on matters of national significance (e.g., a declaration of war) or in the event that the 23-member panel could not reach a conclusive verdict.
In the narrative of the Gospels after the betrayal and arrest of Jesus, he is taken to the Sanhedrin, a Jewish judicial body. From a historical perspective, in the era in which the narrative is set, this body was an ad hoc gathering, rather than a fixed court.