So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves. What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
-Acts 4:15-20 (NLT)
Stop speaking about Jesus. I’m serious. Stop it. Never again. No more talking to your next-door neighbor about your love for Christ. No more morning chat with your co-workers about what you learned about him while reading your Bible. No more dinner table discussion with your family about your thankfulness of Jesus’ grace. So that’s it. Got it? Please give the Jesus thing a rest.
Quick self-evaluation… If I were serious, would you have any trouble complying?
During the early church’s history in the book of Acts, we find people like Peter and John being told just that — to not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus ever again. And their response shows how absurd of a request it truly was… It was almost as if they were thinking, “Let me get this straight… You want Christians to not talk about Jesus? Ha! Good luck!” They viewed it as an impossibility! Testifying about what they had witnessed was simply something they had to do, no questions asked.
Did you catch that? Christians being told to shut up about Jesus, and Christians responding that they cannot shut up about Jesus. I hate to say it, I’m not sure many in the church today would have much difficultly acquiescing to that request. As silly as it sounds, Christians not speaking of Christ has pretty much become acceptable behavior. And even worse, many believers justify their quietness under the guise of meekness, humility or peacefulness. And while those are certainly good, virtuous qualities to have, they aren’t a license for disobedience!
Let’s just be honest… You can’t make the modern church speak about Jesus. And you couldn’t make the New Testament church stop speaking about Jesus.
Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting Christians must stand on street corners and blast passersby with scripture and condemnation. That’s just annoying. There’s a big difference between obnoxiousness and obedience.
But what I am suggesting is that one would think the greatest event to ever occur in your life would at least pop up some of the time in normal, day-to-day conversation. That’s it. I don’t think that’s too much to expect. But unfortunately for many Christians, the topic of Jesus is more or less nonexistant.
If that’s the case, then honestly who are you trying to please? Clearly, not speaking about Christ is what the world wants. And it’s definitely what Satan, the ruler of the world, wants. But what about what God wants? In the words of Peter and John, do you think God wants us to obey people rather than him? Submission to God must always supersede all else.
Really, there’s no choice. So share boldly, courageously, and confidently about Jesus. Tell everyone that will listen about what you have seen and what you have heard.
And please, don’t fall for the lie that silence is okay. To Christians, the mere suggestion of that action should be ludicrous.
No matter what, we cannot stop.