Where Do You Go?
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And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.
Acts 4:23 (NKJV)
Sometimes the distance from the pinnacle of victory to the valley of defeat can seem too short. We can experience triumph in an area and suddenly, a thunderstorm of contradictory circumstances to the truth of God’s Word is unleashed on us. For Peter and John, they had just experienced the miraculous healing power in the Name of Jesus, followed immediately by arrest for preaching in the Name of Christ.
So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them…
Acts 4:21 (NKJV)
A man had been miraculously healed in the sight of everyone, then Peter had announced it was through faith in the Name of Jesus. But the religious leaders of that day wanted to stop this message of Christ. It says, “…finding no way of punishing them…” (I’m sure they took their time to look) So, they ‘threatened them…’. These were not empty threats. This body, called the Sanhedrin, had police powers under the aegis of the Roman authority and could seize property, imprison persons, and exile families from their communities. In John 9:23 we see parents so afraid of the Sanhedrin they wouldn’t stand with their son who was healed by Jesus.
Peter and John were ordered: to not “speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” To do so would no doubt land them back before the Sanhedrin subject to punitive action. Yet, as they walked out of that court room, there was another message in their ears. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved … And these signs will follow those who believe: In My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues … they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-19 NKJV)
Commanded by Jesus to Go and proclaim the good news and commanded not to by the authorities. It may be easy to read this contradiction 2,000 years removed. We know Peter, John, and the others continued to preach in the Name of Jesus. It was, in fact, the Sanhedrin which lost its rule to the Romans even as the Gospel of Jesus continued to spread. However, there is an important key which helped Peter and John that day – and can help you and I also.
Acts 4:23 says, “…they went to their own companions…”. Another translation says, “…returned to other believers…” Another translator called it, “…their own company…” The threat Peter and John faced was real. The contradiction with what Jesus had told them was great. Thank God, Peter and John had somewhere to go. They went to other believers, their friends, their company. Notice, they went to a place of believers and ‘…told them all…’. This was an atmosphere of trust and honor. They didn’t try to hide anything or share just the good part. Hearing this, the believers lifted their voice and prayed for boldness to proclaim His Name!
Verse 31 of Acts 4 says, “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken…” What an awesome demonstration of God’s power, but I want you to notice where it took place? In Peter and John’s ‘company’. They needed boldness and power to stand up against the contradiction of the world to the truth of God’s message. They found what they needed in the company of believers.
Today I hope we don’t face a court order to not speak in Jesus Name, but circumstances and pressures of life can contradict what God’s Word says. How do we overcome this? What is the Bible answer to meeting the contradiction of the world? The company of fellow believers. Open companionship with fellow believers is the Bible recipe for overcoming the contradictions of the world and is the place to find the boldness and world-shaking power needed to live the Message of Jesus.
This is why it is key to be a vital part of a local church. I challenge you, don’t let an excuse keep you out of church, the boldness and supernatural power you need is in that company of believers!