But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. “But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” 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.” When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
This section shows the limits of human power. Their religious power having failed, the council appealed to their authority again to try and shut down the disciples and ask them not to speak in the name of Jesus. Whether they were willing to admit it to themselves or not, they understood that Jesus was powerful. Jesus was the One who filled these common, untrained fishermen with power to heal the lame. As Peter and John’s story spread throughout the city, the council understood that they would lose influence, authority, and power—all things that mattered to them greatly.
Persecution is an attempt to silence one’s witness. Jesus changes lives, and as He does so, the power structures put in place in the world begin to lose influence. Those who have found power in the world's systems have the most to lose when people reject the world and find their value and purpose in Jesus.
When we let the world's power overwhelm us, we have ceased to trust in the power of Christ. Outside of God’s power, no meaningful change can take place in someone’s life. This is a thought that should compel us to trust His power, reject the world's, and continue to live on mission.
- Has anyone ever tried to get you to stop talking about Jesus? Why did they want you to stop?
- Why should we not let someone scare us into being silent?
- Pray that you would not be afraid of the world’s powers, but would trust all the more in Christ.