27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
The high priest ordered Peter and the apostles to stop teaching about Jesus, but they ignored the order. When questioned about their actions, Peter replied, “We must obey God rather than men” (v. 29). What motivated them to follow the Lord with such conviction?
God’s Sovereignty. Peter and the other disciples recognized that God had carried out His divine plan of redemption in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Convinced that salvation was found in Christ alone, they had the courage to speak boldly about their faith. They didn’t alter their words, even in front of a powerful authority. Instead, they gave allegiance to God and obeyed Him.
Thankfulness. Their obedience was also motivated by gratitude. After betraying the Lord, Peter had wept over his failure (Mark 14:72). Think of the disciple’s joy to realize that Christ had forgiven him for his mistakes and restored him to a right relationship with God (Mark 16:7;John 21:15-17). With his past behind him, Peter became a leader of the Jerusalem church, with a passion to obey fuelled by a thankful heart.
God is in charge of our lives. He has rescued us from the bondage of sin, forgiven us, and brought us into His family. Grateful obedience should be our response too.
Each day we have a choice. We can acknowledge God’s sovereignty and trust Him, or we can turn away and follow our own plan. Cultivating a thankful spirit will motivate us to stay the course and obey the Lord. Like Peter, let’s commit to following our heavenly Father wherever He leads.