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Acts 4:13-22, Peter and John before the Council

Thursday, May 24

The Safe Thing or the Right Thing?

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

the safe thing or the right thing?

The religious leaders were in a pickle. They knew that Peter and John had healed a man, and that such a miracle could not be done apart from God. They knew that the people were enamored by them for what they could do and for what they said. The leaders also knew that they could not continue to let Peter and John spread the news of Jesus -- it would throw a wrench in all that they taught and believed. 

Peter and John were an equally precarious pickle. They knew that continuing to heal, perform miracles, and speak in Jesus' name was dangerous and could get them imprisoned or even killed. But they also knew that the power of Christ would not -- could not be silenced. 

Both faced the difficult choice -- do the right thing, or do the safe thing. For the religious leaders, the "right" thing was to silence them, and the safe thing was to appease the people. For Peter and John, the safe thing was to stop preaching, and the right thing was to continue to speak and act in Christ's name. Both did what they had to do, even though their decisions were not easy. When faced with the right thing or the safe thing, which will you do?

Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 4:13-22

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus. When they saw the man who had been cured standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.

So they ordered them to leave the council while they discussed the matter with one another. They said, “What will we do with them? For it is obvious to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable sign has been done through them; we cannot deny it. But to keep it from spreading further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.” After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than forty years old.