But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “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.” And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. Acts 4:14-21
Doing the right thing is often met with opposition. Several years ago, I had a co-worker that was a great person, friends with everyone. I can’t think of anyone who didn’t like them, and they appeared to have an impeccable work ethic. However, as I worked more and more with them, I came to discover that they were padding expense reports as well as their timesheet. I struggled with the notion of ‘turning them in,’ but, in the end, I had to do it. Turning a blind eye would make me just as guilty as they were. It was wholly uncomfortable and I lost a few friends, as well as the relationship with this person.
Doing the right thing regarding our relationship with Jesus and how we share it with others can bring opposition. We’ve read an example here. Peter healed a man of his malady and had recently shared the Gospel of Jesus in a crowd where many turned to follow Christ. This didn’t sit well with the religious leadership. Peter and John were brought before them and were told they couldn’t share the message any further, or they’d be punished. Despite these threats, they declared they “ but speak of what we have seen and heard.” No matter what abuse might befall them, they’d continue sharing the Gospel message!
Stories like this echo down through history. Most of the disciples lost their lives at the hands of persecutors. This has continued right up to today where you can read stories of those who are either oppressed or lose their life because of the stand they take for Jesus. In the book, “The Insanity of God,” a pastor, Dimitri, leads a Jesus-following community despite a full understanding of the consequences. Take a few moments and read about Dimitri’s story, and several others, here.
By Rich Obrecht