Acts 4.13-22

The evidence that a miracle had taken place was incontrovertible. There was, standing before the rulers and anyone who was anyone (4.1-7) a man who was lame from birth. For more than forty years he had not been able to walk and now there he was, standing among them. As evident as the miracle was the fact that Peter and John, despite being uneducated, common men were so bold, so clear, so compelling in their speech about how this had happened (v.13). Luke concludes that it was so obvious that they had been with Jesus. We could stop here and make this about you: do people know you have been with Jesus? This, though, burdens you and your behaviour.

Conferring privately (perhaps Luke found out about what was said through someone who was there, Paul maybe (Acts 26.10)?) the council conclude that they cannot deny that a miracle has happened. Sadly, they will not follow the sign that a miracle often is to the God who worked it. When the council resolves to warn them not to speak no more to anyone in this name, the name of Jesus, Peter and John respond out of command (1.8) and compulsion:

“Whether it is right before God to obey you rather than God, you decide, for it is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard”.

(Acts 4.19-20, NET)

As Peter and John are concerned with doing right by God, the council and leaders are more concerned with keeping peace because of the people. This passage gives us a great example of how we view the miraculous and supernatural acts of God in our lives. We can either praise God for what has happened or we can seek to explain it away and try to keep everyone around us united in the status quo. Peter and John knew that this needed to be talked about (v.20) and they chose to talk about it in a way that glorified the God who worked the miracle (v.21). The same is so often true for us when we encounter anything out-of-the-ordinary: we can praise God for what has happened, or we can seek to keep the peace with the people.

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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