Neighborhood house, Pall Mall, Tennessee
Saturday, 22 January 2022
For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
Peter and John had just stated to the council, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.” Now, they add on their note of intended non-compliance to the council’s determination, beginning with, “For.”
In essence, they are clearly justifying why they will not comply with the decision that has been rendered. They had said, “you judge.” As for them, they have already judged and if the two judgments do not align, it is theirs that will take the priority. That is unambiguously made known with the words, “we cannot but speak the things.”
They will speak, and there is a higher authority that requires them to do so. That thought is tied in with the idea of listening to God. If God has spoken, then it would be inappropriate to not heed the things that He has said. Again, as noted in the previous verse, this is a clear indication that the Law of Moses is now no longer in force.
The men who stood and commanded Peter and John to not speak in the name of Jesus were those who sat upon Moses’ seat. They bore the authority of Moses, and Moses has spoken for God. If Peter and John were disobedient to them, it was as if they were disobedient to God… unless they had proof that their conduct was validated by God.
As Moses had spoken of the coming Messiah, and as he had told them that He must be heard, then it is a poignant note that Messiah’s word would now be what held rule over the people of Israel. In essence, Moses, almost fifteen hundred years earlier, had talked himself out of a job at some point in future history. Time had met up with that point, and now a new order of things had come. That time is validated by their next words, which say, “which we have seen and heard.”
The council itself had noted that the healing was a sign. Added onto that were all of the doctrines of Christ that Peter and John had been taught, all of the miracles, signs, and wonders He had performed, the cross which had taken His life, and then the resurrection where He stood alive and whole before them.
They had the proofs needed to assure them of what was right and proper, and they would boldly proclaim those things no matter what. The decision was not a difficult one because it was fully supported by the hand of God upon the message they proclaimed.
Life application: Many people were raised in Christian homes, and what they believe is based upon what they were taught. That is a good thing. However, many people were brought up in Buddhist, Muslim, or Shinto homes, and they believe what they were taught. Someone could then say, “Well that is a good thing too.”
What is the difference? The answer depends on which God or “god” one is serving. That there is one God can be deduced in various ways. We do not need a book to determine this. Simply taking the time to think the matter through can bring the human mind to know this.
And more, there are certain things about this one God that can be known as well. These things take careful thought to deduce, but it can be done. Eventually, one can weed out all non-monotheistic religions, Hinduism, for example. And more, one can then weed out incorrect monotheistic religions, Islam, for example.
These things can be done. In the doing, one is left with actually only one possibility as to what God is like. But this does not prove that the God presented in Scripture is the one true God. However, there is such an abundance of evidence that He is – such as in fulfilled prophecy – that eventually a person must reasonably ask, “If there is a God, and if He has presented Himself to the world, is what I am reading about Him in the Bible true?”
One can say, “The fulfillment of these prophecies is interesting, but it is still just random chance. The descriptions are perfectly in accord with what I can know about God, but someone just figured out the same thing and wrote a book that matches what I know. I just cannot believe that God would make this effort.”
Or, one can say, “I have all the evidence I need to believe that the God presented in the Bible is the true God, and that He has actually communicated His message to mankind in a knowable, verifiable way. I accept this word, and I believe.”
In the end, it comes down to one word – faith. God asks us to simply believe that He has done it. The smartest biblical scholar on the planet is as far from God as is the vilest murderer if he will not believe. God has spoken, and He has presented His word to the people of the world. He asks you to have faith in what He says. Trust Him and believe.
Lord God, thank You for the Holy Bible that tells us of what You have done, are doing, and have yet to do for us in order to bring us back to You. It is a precious and sacred word that we possess. Help us to be responsible with it all the days of our lives. Amen.