Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Civil disobedience story number three.
Peter and John, two of the closest disciples of Jesus, both ran afoul of the Temple leadership. Luke, the author of the New Testament book of Acts, records the worry and concern of the Temple authorities who say this: “we must warn them [Peter and John] to speak no longer to anyone in this name (Jesus’ name)” (Acts 4:17b). Luke continues:
“18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
I’m a teacher and I am really into that whole, “obey your authorities” thing, but this story needs to be heard. The authorities say “stop” and Peter and John say “no.”
They didn’t poison the Sanhedrin. They didn’t attempt to rouse the crowds to riot against the court that just murdered their rabbi. They continued to preach the word given them.
Like their master before them, they were willing to peacefully disobey their earthly masters in order to obey their heavenly one.
I hope and pray you will never be put in one of these situations, but odds are you will. Take courage that even fishermen from Galilee were given the words to say and the miraculous powers to attract the world to know the God who raised Jesus from the dead despite the religious persecution they constantly received.
I’ll finish today’s thoughts with the prophetic words Jesus told his disciples: “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. 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives” (Luke 21:12-18).