So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20)
It Matters Who You Listen To
Peter and John had gone to the temple at the hour of prayer when they met a man lame from his mother’s womb. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, they healed the man and the people were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Using the miracle to teach the people, Peter and John taught the people about Jesus and the resurrection. Not everyone rejoiced at the good fortune of the lame man. The priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon Peter and John and arrested them, placing them in custody.
On the next day, Peter and John were brought before the Jewish council to explain their actions and what they were teaching. Peter boldly defended the healing of the lame man explaining that the miracle was performed through the power of God. It was only a few months earlier these same Jewish leaders condemned to death Jesus of Nazareth but God had raised Him from the dead. Salvation came through Jesus Christ and none other. The miracle of healing the lame man was a testimony to the message of a risen Christ whom the Jewish leaders rejected. There would be no other avenue of salvation apart from the gospel of Christ. The Jewish leaders recognized the boldness of Peter and were unsure what to do. They threatened Peter and John not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. Peter and John answered the council with courageous conviction when they asked them if they thought God wanted them to obey the council rather than Him. There was no question in the minds of Peter and John. They would listen to God. There was no reason to listen to the council.
The Jewish council knew a notable miracle had been done and there was no way to disprove it. Like the days of Jesus, no one could deny the miracles when Jesus healed every known disease, cast out demons, raised the dead, and performed wonders and signs. They tried to attack His teaching but failed every time. The infant church began to experience persecution when the Jewish leaders warned Peter and John to stop teaching the risen Christ. Soon after, the twelve apostles were arrested, beaten and warned to stop teaching Christ. Saul of Tarsus brought terrible persecution against the church seeking to destroy it. For nearly two hundred years, the first-century church existed under the heavy hand of Roman persecution. Throughout the years of persecution, the faithful saints refused to listen to the words of men and listened only to the word of God.
Peter and John laid the foundation for truth when they declared they would only listen to the word of God. There was no doubt in their minds who they would follow, who they would listen to, and what they would preach. Men sought to oppress them, but they spoke louder. Many saints died for the faith, but their voices grew louder. Nothing the world could do would silence the word of God because His people were listening to Him – not the world. Two thousand years later, the church remains firmly grounded across the globe because the faithful listen to Him. There is only one book that tells the will of God and that book is the Bible. Jesus is the only way to eternal life, the only truth that will guide men to the Father, and the only life that will return sinful man to his place before God. Salvation is found in those who listen to the word of God. Open your ears to His word. Listen for the voice of grace telling you the story of Jesus Christ. The word of God is truth. Listen to it.