But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy 18 they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” 21 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.
Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, 23 “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. 25 And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people. – Acts 5:17-26
You know you’re making an impact when people try to silence you. If you’re sounding the alarm at work and people are trying to shush you up, you can be sure that there is something alarming going on. When you are trying to make an unpopular point and people loudly dismiss you, it might be that your point is hitting closer to home than you had thought. Perhaps that is what was going on at Notre Dame earlier this week when a number of students walked out on Vice President Mike Pence as he began his commencement speech.
Certainly the attempts of the Jewish leaders to silence Peter and the other disciples indicate that they were making quite an impact in their teaching, miracles, and by preaching the resurrection of Jesus.
They will not, however, be stopped. These men were powerfully-touched and shaped by ministry with Jesus for three years. They were deeply-impacted by Jesus’ death on the cross, and delightfully-relieved by Jesus’ resurrection from the grave. They had been commissioned by the One who has all authority in heaven and on earth, and empowered by the work and presence of the Holy Spirit. They were not going to give up. They were wholly given to the mission of God and would not demure.
I’m wondering if there are things to which I am similarly committed. Politics? I have my thoughts and ideals, but am not willing to be all in on any particular political party or philosophy. I don’t have a hobby horse to ride or a windmill at which I feel compelled to tilt. But the message of God’s love in Jesus Christ is something to which I am fully committed. I hope I never have to be freed from jail by an angel in the middle of the night. I hope I am never warned not to speak in Jesus’ name. But should it come to that, I pray that I would have the same boldness that the disciples show on this and many other occasions. Because of their boldness the Word of the Lord has grown and continues to change lives and save souls.