5 On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, 6 with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 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, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21 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. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.
As you press forward on ministry the question will be posed: “where is this coming from?” Hopefully you can always answer “by the name of Jesus Christ.” Anytime you’re asked and the answer is Jesus you might as well follow up with the Gospel like Peter did! 😛 Also, note here that the Spirit was empowering these men so much so that the Pharisees and Sadducees were noting an authoritative power that exceeded what looked natural possible for them. As we walk in the Spirit others will note an incredible ability (at times) which seems unnatural: why aren’t you livid they did _____? How can you let them do ______? Some will be amazed and intrigued by the power of the Spirit, yet others will be overcome with anger/jealousy as their flesh shows it’s true colors. As with Peter those who became angered started throwing threats. Yet Peter shows his allegiance, he points out that he would rather disobey them than God. Is that how you feel? Would you rather endure hardship from man, which you can see, while trusting in God, who is unseen? Or would you be overwhelmed and find it difficult to trust God in these circumstances?
God, help me to respond to oppression with ‘I cannot but speak of what I have seen or heard…’ Help me to find courage, and be bold in the face of opposition. As I press to be closer to You and the enemy begins to surround me, open my eyes to see Your army on my side. Open my eyes to see that You are here with all of Your power keeping me safe. Give me peace, courage, and boldness. Amen.
Encourage one another as you see others discouraged. Many Christians simply need a friend to mention a different perspective. Sometimes it just takes ONE friend to point out: that is the enemy attacking you. We get preoccupied in our anguish and Satan tricks us into thinking it is self inflicted. We must remind our friends, families, even enemies, that Satan is at work destroying everything he can!