Obey God, Not Men

by Jerry Senn

"And ... they set them before the council ... And the high priest questioned them, saying, 'We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us. But Peter and the apostles answered, ''We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him'. When they heard this, they were enraged (cut to the heart) and wanted to kill them." 
— Acts 5:27-32

It’s amazing to read of the sheer courage the apostles demonstrate in the face of the highest levels of Jewish authority. This was seen in chapter four, when Peter and John continued talking about Jesus when threatened by those same men who had killed Jesus. We see this again in the text, after all the apostles were jailed and questioned because they had “filled Jerusalem with” the story of Jesus.

Obeying God today, by talking about Jesus, doesn’t seem to demand so much courage and determination as our ancient brothers faced. We’re often just ignored and categorized as “throw backs” who continue to teach and preach ancient and culturally irrelevant stories, now out of date and unsuited for modern elite society.

However, to me, being ignored and branded really does represent a form of threat and does put us in a position to demonstrate courage in new ways.

Jesus did not come into the world to satisfy his culture or adapt his message to current trends. The reason was clear. He represented the only hope of the lost and dying world. He was and is the last and only chance mankind has for salvation from sin. He is, in our own day, that one and only hope! His message is “the truth” which can “make men free”—from guilt to joy—from despair to hope.

Speaking about Jesus may soon begin to bring outward threats. However, anytime we speak his name and share his love, we demonstrate courage akin to that of the apostles of the first century. Let’s never “blush” to boldly speak His name!