READING: Nehemiah 10-11, Acts 4:1-22
“But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.’”
I wonder sometimes what keeps me from talking more about Jesus. Is it fear? I don’t think so, since the cost of serving Jesus in America has not been great. Is it worry about not having all the answers? I don’t think that’s it, either, as I’m not concerned about admitting I don’t have all the answers. Is it a lack of evangelism training? No, I’ve been trained to share the gospel for more than three decades now. Is it that I don’t know people who need to follow Jesus? Surely not.
So, what gets in the way of my speaking about Christ? Today’s text helps me to answer that question – though I’m not pleased with the answer.
Peter and John had been speaking about Jesus, and others who saw the healed lame man readily listened. Indeed, some 5000 people believed by that point! Frustrated with those responses, the Jewish leaders called Peter and John before them and asked by what power they were working such miracles. Their answer was simple: “Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing here before you healthy” (Acts 4:10). Jesus was the healer, and He was the message the apostles proclaimed throughout Jerusalem.
The Jewish leaders could not deny the healing of the lame man (he was standing before them. . .), so they reached another decision to stop the spread of the Jesus message. Their solution was to order Peter and John “not to preach or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18). Surely, the disciples would stop speaking of Jesus with the threat of the Jewish leaders hanging over their head.
Not so, however. The apostles may have been “uneducated and untrained men” (Acts 4:13), but they were passionate, committed, zealous followers of Christ. Even if the Jewish leaders forbade them from talking about Jesus, they were going to do so anyway; in fact, it was almost as if they could not help it. Christ was so real to them, and His command to make disciples rang so loudly in their ears, that they would speak of Him anyway: “. . . we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). If they had to choose between obeying the Jewish leaders or obeying God, they would choose God. Nothing could keep the zealous believers quiet.
That’s where the application to me hurts a bit. I wonder if I don’t speak often enough about Jesus because I don’t have the zeal for Him I used to have.
- Evaluate what keeps you from talking about Jesus more. Confess to God that obstacle.
- Ask God to give you such zeal for Him that you cannot keep silent about the gospel.
PRAYER: “God, so move in my life that silence about Jesus is not an option.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Nehemiah 12-13, Acts 4:23-37