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.”
This entire debacle instigated by the Jewish bossmen has been nothing but illegal. What exactly have Peter and John done wrong? What Jewish Law have they violated? Here we see these same ones who railroaded Lord Jesus to the cross practicing what they know – fear, control and threats. It is how they operate. They need no Law to implement their chicken-will upon others. They just arrest and threaten as they desire. Power in the hands of evil, fearful, controlling men wreaks havoc on the pursuit of goodness and truth. At least it appears to do so.
Their control does not truly extend to the level they assume. Some laws are simply higher than any law man can concoct. God’s commands supersede any edict issued by a human. His is the higher law. Any earthbound edict which contradicts His clear command must be refused. No man can bind God.
Peter and John know this. They understand submitting to a Higher Power. They’ve seen God truly at work. They know the power of the indwelling Spirit. They understand that God’s commands are higher and must be heeded. Their fear is not of man because their fundamental fear is of God. Frankly, their courage speaks to me very deeply for I am a man of fear.
Courage is only truly evidenced in the face of fear invoking situations. ‘We command you – quit talking about this Jesus guy!’ The apostles have their orders. They have their justification for simply shutting up and moving on. ‘It might be better for everyone if we just keep our mouths shut and move on, you know?’ Said none of them. They know the higher truth. God is over all and they know it. They’ve seen so much with their own eyes of what Father God is doing. He is moving within them and among them and, as always happens when Truth begins to prevail, the enemy shows up with his cronies. Peter and John could not care less. They know the higher power, the greater calling, the ruling authority. “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.” Such bold fishermen.
May we submit ourselves so fully to the Indwelling Holy Spirit that we allow Him to inspire us to this level. May we never mistake the authority of all men for the authority of God. Some men are simply evil and must not be heeded at the expense of our faith. God’s command trumps all earthly edicts. Our fear of Him must exceed the fear of those who run things here. May we so clearly see and experience God’s Presence and His work that we cannot help but speak about what we have seen and heard. May we always heed the higher call.