Acts 4:16-20

Throughout the Easter Season, the daily devotions have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church. Today’s writer is Wendy Farner.

They said, “What will we do with them? For it is obvious to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable sign has been done through them; we cannot deny it. But to keep it from spreading further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:16-20

This text begins with the high priests and elders in Jerusalem conferring about how to handle Peter and John after they have been healing and teaching in the name of Jesus.  The response of the powerful is predictable: they try to silence and contain the Jesus movement, even as they cannot deny the miracles being performed in His name.  It is the response of Peter and John that strikes me here: they stand up to the elders and refuse to be silenced.

Yes, these are the same disciples who scattered and hid when Jesus was arrested, unwilling to stand with Him in His time of need.  Yes, this is the same Peter who denied Jesus three times on the night He was betrayed, refusing to even acknowledge Jesus.  How much their faith has grown, how certain they are of their calling, on the other side of the cross.

While these Biblical times can seem distant and remote to us, are they really?  Are we not still confronted with societal pressures today to keep silent about our faith and deny the true power of Jesus and the cross?  How do we respond?  Do we scatter and run like the disciples on the eve of the crucifixion?  Do we remain quiet about our faith life, keeping religion in church on Sunday and going about the rest of our week like any non-believer?  Do we conform to the expectations of our day, following in the secular path our society cuts for us?

Or have we seen the risen Lord and do we respond, “we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard”?

Friends, if you, like me, have acted more like the scattering disciples, take heart in the power of the cross.  Take heart that even the disciples who lived and followed Jesus scattered; but that was not the end of their story.  Jesus was not done with them, and He rose to return to them and guide their paths.  Let us allow Jesus to act in our lives, let us be open to His call.

We may not be called to perform miracles or confront the powerful of our times, but we may be called for equally important tasks.  We may be called to befriend the lonely, to invite a neighbor to church, to start a ministry for the hungry, or to sing in the choir.  These are all important jobs in the kingdom, as we spread the word of God’s love.  So friends, be open to the call and look for God’s path.  I believe it is there waiting for us all.

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, continue to come to us, as You came to Peter and John. Embolden us to speak what we know to be true of You and your love for us all.  Guide us as we seek to follow your will, and help us be passionate in telling others of your love.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

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3 Responses to “Acts 4:16-20”

  1. Carolee Groux Says:

    I can certainly relate to disciples Peter and John; like them at times I am a good witness for Christ, and at other times I deny him by remaining silent in the presence of others.
    Wendy I think you interpreted the scripture in Matthew about Peter and John just right for our understanding.
    I pray with you,” Lord, continue to come to us, as You came to Peter and John. Embolden us to speak what we know to be true of You and your love for us all.” Amen, say again Amen.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    You have captured the essence of being a faithful Christian

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for the outstanding and inspirational devotion. It hits the mark! (Bert in Bellingham, Washington)

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