by Luke Kincaid
There may be times in this life where we have to make a choice that will see us obeying what God has commanded and which will go against what people may expect of us. These situations are not always comfortable because they may see us losing favor with people or life becoming more difficult in some way. While reading through Acts today I came across the following account:
25 Someone came and reported to them, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the commander went with the servants and brought them in without force, because they were afraid the people might stone them. 27 After they brought them in, they had them stand before the Sanhedrin, and the high priest asked, 28 “Didn’t we strictly order you not to teach in this name? Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” 29 Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people. 30 The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had murdered by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted this man to his right hand as ruler and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” – Acts 5:25-32
I can only imagine how intimidating this situation may have been. Imagine standing in front of one of the most powerful people and being reprimanded by them for not obeying a direct command which was issued to you. But I love how Peter and the apostles respond with such a powerful statement, “We must obey God rather than people.” They stood their ground and showed that they were willing to go against the authority of the Sanhedrin because the Sanhedrin was in direct opposition to God. And even though they escaped possible death there were still severe consequences for the stand that they made:
40 After they called in the apostles and had them flogged, they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. 41 Then they went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be treated shamefully on behalf of the Name. 42 Every day in the temple, and in various homes, they continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. – Acts 5:40-42
Their obedience led to each apostle receiving 39 lashes – you can only imagine how much pain they were all in. But they did not allow this to impact their witness as they continued to share the gospel even after this encounter with the Sanhedrin! I am so grateful for the example these disciples set and they give me courage to stand up for God’s standard in situations where others may be against it.