Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Monday after the Fifth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on July 1, 2024 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Acts 5:27-32 (NKJV)
5:27 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.”
The Apostles were placed in a difficult situation. The council which was censuring them was chaired by religious and political authorities, including Pharisees, Sadducees, and the high priest. The authorities were appointed by God and thus were owed honor and obedience. Jesus declared on one occasion: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat” (Matt. 23:2). Also, St. Paul writes: “whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God” (Rom. 13:2). When the council commanded the Apostles to cease teaching the name of Jesus, they were causing the Apostles to make a choice between two ordinances of God. The Apostles were not disturbed by this conflict. They knew that when the decrees of men contradict the decrees of God, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
If our political authorities make laws contrary to God’s Word, we can be assured that these laws are invalid. When we disobey them we are not “resisting the ordinance of God,” since such laws were not made according to God’s authority. God has given the government authority to punish evil and minister to us for good. He has not given them authority to annul His Word or persecute Christians.
If we are ever placed into a difficult situation like the one the Apostles faced, may God give us strength to obey Him rather than men. “Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word” (Acts 4:29).
Collect: O God, Who hast prepared for them that love Thee such good things as pass man’s understanding: Pour into our hearts such love toward Thee, that we, loving Thee above all things, may obtain Thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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