Wednesday in the Third Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 4:13-22

We Cannot But Speak

Peter and John were speaking before the greatest tribunal among the Jews in the land.  One might be a little intimidated.  I have had a few occasions in which I was at court on behalf of someone else and the room, the language, the legal regalia of the persons in charge, … well it’s all very unsettling, to say the least.  No doubt these priests were used to being respected, feared, and obeyed.  I imagine most were content to walk in and say, “Yes, sir,” “No sir,” and “Thank you, sir,” and then happily walk away unscathed.  Not so, these apostles.  Now we noted yesterday that Peter and John addressed these men with respect, but they also addressed them with the truth of the gospel, that is, the good news that through the name of Jesus of Nazareth, and only through that name, and through faith in that name and repentance from sin against that name, must one be saved.  The Savior of the Jewish nation (and of Gentiles as well) had arrived and was now calling them to himself.  Good news, indeed!

And they spoke with boldness; they seemed not the least bit afraid or intimidated.  The council was shocked in that these men were obviously uneducated (i.e., not that they were stupid, but that they had not been trained in the Law by a noteworthy teacher), but also recognized that they had been with Jesus – the man they had recently condemned to death by the hands of the Romans and whose “movement” they apparently thought they had quashed.  But here his followers were standing before them having healed a man born lame, having done so in Jesus’ name, and worst of all, preaching the resurrection from the dead in Jesus’ name.

And what were they to do?  They could not deny the miracle.  But they certainly could not have these men preaching in the name of Jesus any longer.  So they threatened them: Preach any longer in this name at your peril.  But Peter and John answered, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”  And in these words the Christian has his liberty to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It derives not from the law of the land nor from any government; it derives from our Lord himself.  Of course, such testimony may cost one life, limb, or livelihood.  And I certainly believe that one should be prudent (i.e., not reckless) regarding place, time, and to whom.  But we must ultimately stand for the truth of God’s word even in the face of persecution.  The Christian’s magna Charta, and God’s command, is simply this: We must obey God rather than man.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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