“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.”
It was curious to me that after Peter said this to the authorities who threatened them, he and the other believers gathered together to pray for boldness. Before Peter said this, he had spoken about the resurrection of Jesus and the priests and elders had noted he and John’s boldness.
Before the coming of the Holy Spirit, these men hid in fear. With good reason, they worried that they would suffer the same fate as their leader. They didn’t worry about what to say, but whether they would survive. Easily, they could forget Jesus’ words: “And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what to say.”
Peter here has no reason now to fear the authorities unless he is only concerned about his body or his standing in the synagogue. No sane person wants to be put to death or booted from her or his church. But a sane person might be willing for either if the cause is right. Peter is more concerned with what is right. And he is compelled, now that he has been filled with the Holy Spirit, to speak of the resurrection. For Peter, Christ’s resurrection was reality. The priests and elders did not want the resurrection to be a reality, and they reacted as fearful men do.
It is not that we must challenge others with the Gospel. The Gospel is challenging enough. Remember that the leaders confronted Peter and John, not the other way around. Our call is to obey as these disciples did, and between times to pray.
Lord fill us with your Holy Spirit, that we may be Your Hands to heal. Shake the places we pray that we see You working in our hearts. Give us the wisdom of words, but also the wisdom of work in silence, so if the world cannot see tongues of fire, it may see arms of Love.