“We Cannot But Speak”

by Roby Ellis           SPANISH/ESPAÑOL

But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations (Mark 13:9-10).

The Lord promised to build His church upon a firm foundation of solid rock (Matthew 16:18). While some have been persuaded that this foundation was Peter, he himself tells the Jews that the foundation was Jesus, the corner stone which they had rejected (Acts 4:11). The apostle Paul confirms this, naming Jesus as the only foundation that can be laid (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Seeing the church in her infancy, Satan now places all of hell’s resources behind an assault against her, just as he did when he saw the Christ born into the world (Matthew 2:16). From this moment forward, Satan’s plan of battle was altered. Every assault that he had made against Jesus proved to be fruitless, and, when Satan moved Judas to betray Him and the Jews to crucify Him, this lone victory (as it then appeared) became the seal of Satan’s doom when Jesus was “raised from the dead by the glory of the father” (Romans 6:4), thereby “declared to be the Son of God with power” (Romans 1:4). Realizing then that any chance of victory over the Savior was lost, he turned himself to fight against the church, the heir of the life-saving Gospel.

In this text, the apostles are called before the same council which had sentenced Jesus to death only a few months earlier. On that occasion, we recall how Peter denied his Lord, but now, when questioned by the men responsible for His death, Peter affirms with boldness that the power whereby this man was healed was not his own, but Jesus Christ’s! As one considers this marvelous transformation in the character of this man, one cannot help but think of the hours that Jesus must have spent in prayer for him, as He told Peter with these words: “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31-32). Now, when he is strictly forbidden from teaching in the name he thrice denied, Peter replies, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). Peter and John, who stood on the mountain where Jesus was transfigured, saw the multitudes fed, and saw blind eyes opened, could not refrain from spreading these tidings abroad. That which they had heard, seen, and held (1 John 1:1) was more precious than life itself. May we place the same value on the Gospel that is committed to our trust!

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