Acts 4:3

ESV And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.
NIV They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day.
NASB And they laid hands on them and put them in prison until the next day, for it was already evening.
CSB So they seized them and took them into custody until the next day since it was already evening.
NLT They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning.
KJV And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.

What does Acts 4:3 mean?

The priests, their temple guard, and other Jewish leaders of the Sadducee sect have arrested Peter and John for teaching that Jesus rose from the dead (Acts 4:1–2). Peter and John entered the temple for the afternoon prayers. After prayers, they spoke to a crowd of people about Jesus (Acts 3). Now, it's too late to get the Sanhedrin together to investigate them, so the guards put them in prison for the night.

Jesus told His disciples they would experience this kind of harassment. He said, "They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake" (Luke 21:12). This is not the last time either Peter or John will face prison. The Sanhedrin will arrest, question, and beat all the apostles (Acts 5:17–42). Then, Herod Agrippa I will kill James and imprison Peter. An angel will rescue Peter, and he will escape Jerusalem (Acts 12:1–19).

The apostles will experience much worse: tradition says all but John will die for their faith. But the persecution starts slowly. God will often increase our trials slowly to develop and prove our faithfulness to Him. Not that He needs to know how faithful we are, but we need to know. The Sanhedrin will release Peter and John. The two will go back to the group of believers, and they will all pray—not for protection, but that they would continue to teach in boldness (Acts 4:23–31). Later, after the Sanhedrin beats the apostles and releases them, the apostles leave "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name" (Acts 5:41).

And their trials will not go unrewarded. "The word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7). Their prosecutors come to accept that Jesus rose from the dead, repent of their sins, and follow Him.
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