Read Acts 4:1-22.
In the early days of the church, the Jewish Christians were able to continue to live peacefully in Jerusalem. However, as the church experienced dramatic growth, this peaceful coexistence came to a sudden halt.
The watershed event that precipitated this division occurred when a man who had been lame for forty years was miraculously healed at the temple. When this healing occurred, Peter and John used the occasion to preach the Gospel and the number of believers in Jerusalem rose to about five thousand.
In response to Peter’s sermon, the Jewish authorities arrested Peter and John and threated to severely punish them if they continued speaking in the name of Jesus. Peter responded by saying, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than God you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). In other words, when man’s law conflicts with God’s word, then believers are obligated to obey God.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus had given the church the authority to spread the Gospel. Therefore, the church had a greater obligation to obey God. Remember, we are told in Romans 13:1 to obey our governmental authorities. It is only when these authorities command us to violate Scripture that we refuse to obey.
God has given us the authority to share the Gospel. When was the last time you took the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone?
This devotion is based on Marty McLain’s book “The Crown has Fallen: A Study of the Kings of Judah.”