We all want to be heard. Sometimes we speak with a ballot, other times by standing up in front of a group of people. Even giving someone the silent treatment is a way to say something. But why won’t some people listen? It could be that our reputation does not match our words. It might be because our terms produce negative emotions in the hearer. It might be the message itself is inherently offensive. These three reasons, in short, are: reputation, charisma, and logic. If any of those are violated, you won’t be heard.
In Acts 4:1-2, the apostles were silenced. Priests, the temple guard captain, and the sect of the Sadducees did not want to hear the message. They had a visceral response to the message. They did not want to hear anyone teaching or proclaiming, “in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” Their reason for not listening was not only because they didn’t believe the message, but also because they didn’t want anybody else to believe it either. The message was a threat to their political power.
Imagine a world without politics. That would not be today’s world. If one side says something, the other vilifies it. If the other side says something, the one tries to silence it. Our world is not so different, in that respect, from the first century.
But what if the message of the cross is offensive to hearers today? How do the offended react? First, they might tarnish the reputation and try to make the speaker look like a hypocrite. Second, they might respond with an emotional argument trying to generate disgust against the offensive message. Third, they might just reject the logic of the message out-of-hand. The bottom line is, sometimes people just won’t listen.
In Acts 4:18-21, the Jewish leaders commanded the apostles to speak no more. Then they threatened the apostles and then let them go. They could not overcome the evidence of the miracle recorded in Acts 3, so they would refuse to listen and tried to keep others from listening.
What did the apostles do? They refused to be quiet. They had a mission from Jesus to bear witness of Him and His resurrection. They didn’t spend a lot of time speaking to the Jewish leaders, but when they found themselves in front of those leaders, they did not shy to speak about what they saw and heard from Jesus. But when they weren’t in front of those leaders, they kept telling others the wonderful news of the Gospel and called them to repentance and obedience.
Do you feel like you don’t have a voice? Then sit down with me over an open Bible. Let’s study the message God would have us share with others – calling all to repentance, obedience, and the salvation found only in Jesus’ name.
Stop by Sunday at 9:30 or 10:45!