Lord, open my eyes afresh to the resources available to me as Your child. I am so grateful to You.
Read Acts 4:13-22
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“If the world hates us as it hated Jesus, then he is the model of inner joy and blessedness that we ought always to have in mind when we face persecution for righteousness’ sake” (John Killinger).
There is a striking contrast here. Although the Sanhedrin insists on silence (17), Peter and John cannot keep quiet (20). Despite the desire for silence, the Sanhedrin cannot deny the miracle. They know the reputation that the apostles have (16). They can see the change that Jesus had brought into their lives (13). We are not told why they must stop the news spreading (17). Perhaps they fear potential loss of power or upsetting the status quo, or maybe they are just reluctant to change. All can cause people to turn away from Jesus. There are mysteries in the ways of the human heart and mind, the activity of the enemy and the gracious working of God that we can never fully comprehend. The evidence is all there (see v 14) and seems compelling to us, but we cannot force others to believe.
The blindness of others frustrates and hurts, but it should not deter us from sharing our faith and our experience. Despite opposition, Jeremiah could not stop speaking of God; the word was like a fire in his heart (Jer. 20:7-10). The apostles cannot help speaking (20). They have been sent by the risen Christ. Paul found himself under a divine obligation (1 Cor. 9:16). We serve a higher authority, and we have no alternative but to speak. In some parts of the world Christians have to consider how they will speak out under threat of job loss, social isolation, imprisonment or even death. In others, they increasingly have to work out how to speak truth against a background of relativism, pressures to be silent on issues deemed contentious, and legislation which may sometimes violate Christian convictions. We have no divine right to be heard, but we do have a divine requirement to speak.
What opportunities will you have to tell others what you have experienced of Jesus? Pray that you will use them effectively.
Empowering Lord, I think of brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering from battle fatigue. Reinvigorate them, I pray, as they face opposition for their faith.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2024 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.