Refusing To Remain Silent

“And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”” (Acts 4:18–20, NASB95)

Peter and John were taken into custody by the Sanhedrin and interrogated by Jewish leaders to determine “by what authority” they were preaching the gospel and healing the lame on temple grounds. As I studied this narrative, I realized that cancel culture is not a new thing, but many have been trying to cancel the gospel message since the commissioning of the church. Jesus gave a command to the disciples to preach the gospel, making disciples of all nations. Peter and John were obeying the commands of Jesus, which stood in conflict with the desires of the religious leaders. The Sanhedrin thought they succeeded in canceling the ministry and message of Jesus when they crucified Him and realized they failed when they discovered that He had risen from the dead. The leaders then spread a lie that the disciples stole the body, but that lie didn’t hold up when Jesus revealed Himself to over five hundred witnesses. Then Jesus ascended and was off the scene. Perhaps the leaders thought the movement would just go away.

On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit filled the lives of the followers of Jesus, and one hundred and twenty witnesses shared the gospel leading three thousand people to believe in Jesus. Not many days later, Peter and John heal a lame man, and another crowd gathers on Solomon’s porch to hear the gospel resulting in five thousand having come to faith. The message and ministry of Jesus is alive and well and cannot be stopped. The council exercised their religious authority, demanding that Peter and John stop sharing the gospel. Peter and John took a stand against religious authority because the authority of Jesus is greater than man. Peter and John left the judgment of their actions to God as they obeyed their calling. They refused to cancel the gospel.

I find myself in similar circumstances. As a pastor and chaplain, there are many times when the world will press in and seek to cancel the proclamation of the name of Jesus. Whether it is through secular pressure to refrain from sharing Jesus or an encouragement to remain silent, Satan is still trying to cancel the gospel message. I am encouraged by the boldness of Peter and realize that only by the power of the Holy Spirit will I be able to stand against the pressure of the world. When Peter and John reconnected with “their own” (Acts. 4:23), they prayed for boldness, and God empowered them with a fresh emboldening (Acts 4:31). This needs to be my daily prayer; Lord, fill me fresh each day so that I will be an effective witness for you.

Pastor Cary

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