The Jewish council has just ordered Peter and John not to preach anymore in the name of Jesus. “But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard’”(Acts 4:19-20). Peter is very bold again. He does not simply agree in the moment and disobey later. Essentially he tells them that he will not obey their order because it contradicts what God has told him. “For we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” means that Peter is morally compelled to disobey their wrongheaded command.
It seems likely that this aggressive response causes the council to want to punish Peter and John on the spot. “And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened”(Acts 4:21). The people are so stirred up by this healing that punishing the healers would be wildly unpopular. The council’s hands are tied for the moment, but they will bide their time. This will not be the end of the discussion.
Peter and John express their preaching as a compulsion they cannot control. There is no other way. Jeremiah spoke of God’s word as fire in his bones (Jer 20:9). Paul declares, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”(1 Cor 9:16). When we are convicted that Jesus is the messiah, we cannot but speak what we have seen, heard, and experienced for ourselves.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Do I feel a burning need to tell others about Jesus?
One Thing to Pray For: Clarity of mind and word to tell others about Jesus
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