13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
What a contrast. The Sanhedrin members are amazed at the boldness of Peter and John, but they are paralysed by fear. Peter and John speak and act with real authority, yet the Sanhedrin has its authority challenged and is powerless to do what it wants. Peter and John speak the truth with confidence but the councillors are blocked by the truth of the healed man standing before them. And everyone knows it.
So where did this difference come from? Peter and John had absolute determination to do what God had told them to do. Peter was filled with the Spirit as he spoke. They were acting with God’s authority. Their single minded focus on doing what God was doing gave them freedom and clarity that completely disarmed their opponents.
Yet when faced with those who want to shut out the truth, do I act like Peter and John, or like the councillors?
Father, give me that same clarity of purpose to do and to say only what you give me to do and say.
Written by David Cornell