This is a continuation of my series on Acts, this time we tackle Acts 4. Take a look back at previous posts for the other chapters.
The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves.
“What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.
But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
The whole of chapter 4 is very interesting, and I suggest that you read the whole thing, but I have selected the above section for today’s post. This one is really close to my heart, as I still see this today. Have a look at the first paragraph. The members of the council were amazed by Peter and John’s boldness, they were surprised by their knowledge of scripture, they recognised them as Jesus’ disciples, they acknowledged that they had done a miracle and they even had the ‘proof’ standing right there. You would think that they would believe. Nope, they still consider it propaganda and want to stop them from spreading the Word. Unbelievable. Yet is still happens today. Now I am not saying that I am always right, but I do try to spread the Truth. When I started this ministry, I expected to be attacked for my faith, I just wasn’t expecting it to come from ‘friendly fire’. 90% of the negative comments, spiritual attacks and sometimes even abuse that I receive comes from Christians.
Now you may argue that the members of the council were not Christians, and you are right, but they were the religious leaders of the day. I think that some Christians nowadays, are more like the religious leaders than followers of Jesus. I have been politely asked to leave a church because I believe that we have the authority to command healing (which Peter demonstrated in the last chapter, that is why he is facing the council), yet that same church advertised that ‘all were welcome’. All unless you have a different theology I suppose. Anyhow, the point of this is not for me to rant about things from the past, but more to teach us that we are in a battle, we will face opposition. The (possibly) more important lesson from this passage is that the Holy Spirit was with Peter and John here. As He is with us as we go about what God has called us to do. Even when they blatantly tell the council that they will not stop, they still have nothing on them. God is good!
This doesn’t mean that we will never face persecution, but as we find out from Paul, God’s grace is sufficient. Speak the truth, no matter what the consequences. This doesn’t mean that you are not above change. If someone approaches me in love, and gives me scriptures (in context), to alter my views (if I am wrong), I have no issue with that. When I get attacked and told that I am wrong because someone believes differently, and they have no scripture to back it up, I treat them as Peter treated the council. Should I believe you over what God has said? Absolutely not!
God’s power, our actions.