The parallel seems uncanny. The apostles were continually told to keep silent. Acts 4:18 NLT “So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.” Acts 5:40 NLT “The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.”
Don’t speak. Like a parent covering a child’s mouth. This is exactly how I feel walking around with everyone’s face covered. You can see the eyes but the voice is muffled and sometimes not understandable through the cloth covering it. How many movies and tv shows have we seen where in order for the assailant to subdue his target, he covers the mouth and nose of the victim with a cloth laced with chloroform and the victim collapses into submission.
Acts 5:18 says, (NIV) “And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.” This is simultaneously happening to the church of Christ around the world right now. The governing systems and leaders are telling us to be quiet. Be quiet about meeting together. Be quiet about Biblical righteousness. Be quiet about what the Bible says about abortion. Be quiet about Biblical marriage. Be quiet about equality and justice. They are trying in every way and by every means to put their hands over our faces and shut us up.
How did the Apostles respond? They refused to wear the mask! What happens to the psyche of those who see people with their faces covered all around them? It say’s be afraid! Be afraid of the person behind the mask. Be afraid that they will infect you. That what they have is dangerous and can hurt you. The church needs to understand the danger and deceit of what is happening spiritually. There is a war going on. The enemy wants to silence you and cause those who see you to fear you and your message. He wants to cause those who see you to think that what you carry is dangerous instead of empowering and cause contamination instead of freedom. The strategy is deception. People are told to watch us, report us and ticket or arrest us if we even try to meet. And if we meet, we are to do so in very small numbers while standing far apart.
Just think about that strategy. Don’t allow them to muster the troops. Don’t let them link arms and comfort one another. Don’t allow them to sing and rejoice. Don’t allow them to pray for one another. In essence it’s an attempt to dismantle the body of Christ systematically and stop the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
So what is the church to do? Let’s look at the passage again. Acts 4:13-20
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Peter and John reasoned that they answer first to God. They were not criminals. They had hurt no one. On the contrary, a man had just been healed. These were not men of terror or chaos but instead men of peace and compassion. Their boldness was called rebellion. Their fearlessness called insurgence and revolt.
We must not silence our voices. We must continue to stand boldly and proclaim the name of Jesus. We must go around healing the sick and delivering the bound. We must advance the Kingdom of God in the face of opposition, tyranny and imprisonment. The apostles didn’t back down and neither should we. Jesus was led to the slaughter so that we could walk in His power and authority. I challenge you not to lay down your sword!
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
When Jesus ascended and sat down at the right hand of the father he was proclaiming His victory. He had finished the work. His victory has wrought ours. We are to be valiant in our stance and full of courage. According to Matthew 11:12 (NASB) “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” There is still a work to be done and it is we who are to do it.
So today, stare your enemy in the eye. Rip off your mask of silence and proclaim the Kingdom of God is at hand. Wield your sword and stand your ground. You are a conquerer! You’re the called of God and heirs to the throne. Child of God march forward and claim your victory over every sphere in your life and free others while you do!
Blessings to you and yours,
ID 177378326 © Michel Egloff | Dreamstime.com