After Peter and John healed the lame man at the Beautiful gate, it really shook up the Sanhedrin, the religious rulers of the day.
And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.
And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
So even though those men in the Sanhedrin knew perfectly well that a notable miracle had been done and they couldn’t deny it, still they wanted to suppress this new thing. Why? “That it spread no further among the people.” Again, why? Miracles are awesome–we should tell everyone about them! But if the news had spread, if people talked about it too much, it might undermine the power of these men! They weren’t responsible for this miracle. It had occurred outside their jurisdiction. They were afraid everyone would be looking to these miracle workers for instruction, rather than to the Sanhedrin. (Hmmm. Do we still see this today?)
Then the bold response from Peter and John:
But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
To whom do I hearken? To God? Or to man? And exactly where is that line between respecting earthly authority and obeying God rather than man? Am I rightly discerning it? Am I bold to speak for God when others would hush me? Do I keep silence in certain company, or am I compelled to speak of Jesus, who is my very life!?
Or, to take the other side, do I use the excuse of obeying God rather than man in order to go my own way? Would I prefer to thumb my nose at all authority so that I can do as I wish? Am I truly following a clear direction from God or am I making an excuse for the flesh? I think there is a danger of that, though the rebel in me wants to deny it.
Just a thought that came to me as I read this morning. I’d welcome comments.