Speaking to the Soul – June 8


[The council of the Jews] 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. Acts 4: 18-20

The miraculous healing of the lame man attracted great attention. This gave Peter a further opportunity to speak to the crowd. He explained that the healing had been done in the name of Jesus, pointing out that they had “killed the author of life but God raised him from the dead” (Acts 3:15). This was too much for the Jewish authorities, who were desperate to find a way to shut him up.

When told to stop talking about Jesus, Peter responded by making it clear that if it was a choice between obeying the Jewish council or obeying God, he would choose the latter. It is worth stopping for a moment and reminding ourselves that this bold, confident speaker is the man who, only a few weeks before, had denied ever knowing Jesus. Peter is clearly a changed man and his pathetic denials are a thing of the past.

In Romans 13, Paul teaches that we should all submit to the governing authorities, which derive their authority from God. However, when rulers abuse their power and stand in the way of God, our duty is to obey God. In many countries today, to obey God is to stand in opposition to the government. Open Doors is an organisation that seeks to ensure that persecuted Christians are remembered and supported. They identify the top five countries where persecution is most prevalent as North Korea, Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea and Libya. Let us keep praying for these countries, asking God to give the Christians in them the courage to stand up for him, however intense the opposition. We may not face such flagrant opposition ourselves, but we still need to ensure that every day we are taking our orders from God and not from anyone else.

What would you do if you were told to disobey God?

Lord God our Father, I pray for my Christian brothers and sisters who are experiencing persecution. I thank you for them and pray that you will give them peace and courage as they stand up for you today. Amen