[Editor's note: Beyond Sunday is a Monday refresher to carry you through the week.]
Focus Verse of the Week
Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!" (Acts 5:29)
Peter's reply is more concise than on the former occasion with the priests. It is the announcement of a settled purpose, rather than a reasoning testimony with those who will not listen and who showed themselves to be adversaries. Opposed to God, the heads of Israel were merely men. In saying this, all was decided: the opposition between them and God was evident.
Nevertheless there is no pride, no self-will, in Peter's answer. He must obey God. He still takes his place in Israel ("the God," he says, "of our fathers"), but the place of testimony for God in Israel. The advice of Gamaliel prevails to turn aside the purposes of the council, for God has always His instruments ready, unknown perhaps to us, where we are doing His will. Nevertheless they cause the apostles to be beaten, and command them not to preach, and send them away. They were at a loss what to do-only made the opposition of their will the more evident, while how simple the path when sent of God, and consciously doing His will! We must obey God.
The object of this latter part of the chapter is to show that the providential care of God, whether miraculously by means of angels, or by disposing the hearts of men to accomplish His purposes. The apostles, in no wise terrified, return, full of joy at being counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus; and every day, in the temple, or from house to house, they cease not to teach and to preach the good news of Jesus the Christ. However weak they might be, God Himself maintains His testimony.
(Adapted from John Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament, Acts 5)
A Thought to Keep
The call to obey God rather than men is more than self-righteous bucking of authority. Rather, it welcomes the suffering will probably come from such a response.