“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus. When they saw the man who had been cured standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. So they ordered them to leave the council while they discussed the matter with one another. They said, “What will we do with them? For it is obvious to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable sign has been done through them; we cannot deny it. But to keep it from spreading further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.” After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than forty years old.” Acts 4:13-22
Part of the enemy’s strategy is to silence believers from speaking and sharing the gospel. Most of us aren’t specifically pastors or teachers, but we all have testimonies to share. Satan would like nothing more than to shut us down.
Peter and John were “uneducated and ordinary” men. They had no degrees or special abilities, only their testimonies and witness from spending time with Jesus. They had been arrested for threatening the status quo. What I find fascinating is that the elders and scribes acknowledged that a miracle had taken place, they just couldn’t bear the idea of their own authority being usurped. They preferred people suffer under their authority than be free under Jesus’ authority. The beautiful thing was, the miracle spoke for itself. There was nothing they could do to change what happened, so they commanded Peter and John to just stop speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus.
Did they really believe these two men would go away that easily? They were so focused on self-preservation, I think they may have thought that would be the end of it. Of course, Peter and John had other ideas:
“And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. They raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them… Now, Lord, look on their threats and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” Acts 4:23-24,29
Whoops. Telling them to be quiet had the exact opposite effect. They went to their closest companions and relayed the entire story. Then, as a united group, they lifted voices up in prayer and praise to Jesus, thanking Him for being above all this craziness and asking Him to grant them even more boldness.
That’s how you deal with opposition my friends!
The disciples had seen so many miraculous things happen, they just took off and never looked back. They had no plan B or anything to fall back on. They healed the sick, cast out demons and spoke the truth boldly when opposed because of the power that had been given to them by Jesus. There was no arguing with the results. People can take it or leave it, but His power manifest is what it’s all about. Many people who cross our paths may never hear our personal testimonies, but they can see what our lives produce – good fruit or bad.
The enemy’s whole tactic is to silence us with threats, lies and fears. Instead of being backed into a corner, we need to have this boldness that Peter and John had. In the original Greek, it means “cheerful courage, clear presentation, not a human quality, a result of having God’s spirit, and authority.” I want all those things!
When fear tells you it isn’t possible, when the unbelief of others confuses you, when the enemy whispers that it’s a lost cause… take up this BOLDNESS, knowing that it is something that comes from God Himself. When the enemy tells you to shut up, ask God to make you LOUDER.
And if you have never read how the story ends, it’s pretty amazing:
“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and the spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31
Let the earth shake. Let the Spirit come down. Let the enemy be silenced and let your God-given courage and authority be made known!