Wednesday 22 April 2015

Bible Book:

“Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge” (v. 19)

Acts 4:13-22 Wednesday 22 April 2015

Psalm: Psalm 142


The story so far ... the Council members knew that a man who wascrippled can now walk; they had questioned Peter and John about howthis had come about; they had heard Peter witnessing that thehealing was through the power of the name of Jesus. Now they had tomake a decision about what to do.

There was nothing that the Council could say against all theevidence in front of them. They were also aware that Peter and Johnwere ordinary, uneducated people and yet they were teaching andpreaching with "boldness" (v. 13). They had been questioned by thehighest authority within the Jewish world and had held theirown.

Despite the fact that the Romans ruled this part of the world,they allowed this Council, known as the Sanhedrin, to punish Jewsaccording to their custom. This was part of the power that theruling elite held and which they wanted to keep. They could punishpeople severely including a punishment of forty lashes less one.Peter showed his conviction by continuing to witness even underthese circumstances.

Seeing that public opinion was on the side of the disciples theCouncil decided not to punish them. They still wanted to limitPeter and John from spreading their belief in Jesus and hisresurrection though and so "ordered them not to speak or teach atall in the name of Jesus" (v. 18).

Peter did not give into their pressure. He answered them with aquestion. He asked them which is the right thing to do: to do whatGod wants or what the Council wants?

Everyone in the room knew that there was only one correctanswer. The Council could hardly argue that someone should obeythem rather than God!

Peter stated, in effect, that whatever the Council may think thedisciples "cannot keep from speaking about what [they] have seenand heard" (v. 20).

The Council had no option but to let them go.

To Ponder

  • Do you sometimes feel pressured to listen to the prevailingculture rather than to God? If so, what do you think would help youto be able to stand firm?
  • To what extent do you feel that the Church is shaped, for goodor ill, by the culture in which we live? 

Bible notes' author: The Revd Ros Watson

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