5:26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”
29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
Obedience. It is not a very popular word. When I used to visit my grandma and we went to her little country church she often requested to sing "Trust and Obey". I must confess that at the time I was not a fan of that song. "Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."
My ears weren't hearing the 'trust' part or the 'be happy' part. To me the song just said 'obey' over and over and over.
Today I love the song but that's because I have changed. The song is the same as it always was.
The disciples are standing before the council again. Standing in front of the men that hold all the power. Standing in front of the men they refuse to obey.
Ironic isn't it?
Peter is the one who has been arrested for civil disobedience yet he is the one talking about obedience. Do you know what this story underlines about obedience? Everyone is obedient. Yes you read that right. Everyone is obedient. The question is not about if we are obeying. The question is who are we obeying and why?
Are we obeying our lusts and addictions because we are slaves? Are we obeying the laws of the land because we believe they are right? Or because we are afraid of punishment? Are we obeying our circle of friends because of peer pressure? Are we obeying our religion? Are we obeying no one but ourselves because we think we are the law and the highest pinnacle of wisdom?
See we are all obeying something or someone. Peter broke it down into two concise categories. Either we are obeying man, or God. I have to admit that he is right. Obeying man can go in all kinds of directions but it's still obeying a human. The only alternative to obeying a person is to obey God but don't fool yourself. We are all obeying someone.
Think again about that old hymn: "Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey."
Our happiness is a byproduct of our choices. If I choose to join a gang I will likely live in fear and end up dead prematurely. Hardly a recipe for happiness yet many young people in the inner cities make that choice for all kinds of reasons, some of them very real and pressing reasons. If I choose to blindly follow my religion I will also live in fear and insecurity and end up eternally dead.
Notice the song does not just say obey. It says trust and obey. Obedience is actually a byproduct of trust. If the gang is the only group I can trust I will obey them. So the real question is not "who am I obeying?" The real question is "who do I trust and why?"
Peter came to trust Jesus on a level so deep nothing could shake him. No one could intimidate him. He feared nothing. This trust was born from experiencing the truth that Jesus loved him at his very worst even when he was trusting and obeying no one but himself and his need to survive.
Love creates trust and trust creates obedience and happiness follows.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.