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God or Men? (16 of 52)
Series: Discipleship Part 2
Christopher B. Harbin
Sometimes we have to make choices between alternatives we were told were not optional. We have to make a decision on which voice to heed. There may be two sides to an argument, but at some point or another, one is wrong and the other is right, or we have to ignore one voice to heed the other. Life can't always be lived on the fence. As Jesus phrased it, ''You can't serve two masters.'' When there is a conflict between one and the other, we have to choose which voice to heed. Often as not, we have to make decisions between listening to voices supporting the status quo or pressing for change, voices calling for supporting established norms or critiquing the same. Being caught in the middle can be a dangerous place to be. As believers, we are called to follow the voice of Jesus, as unsettling as it may be.
Jerusalem was not a democracy. Jerusalem did not have a free press. Jerusalem was not a bastion for the promotion of human rights, anti-discrimination policies, or the free and unfettered exercise of religion. Jerusalem was a theocracy under subjugation by a foreign power with an opposing theocratically based rule of government. Conflicts were bound to arise among different religious factions. There was an expectation that any departure from the norm would be squelched in favor of the ruling parties and their particular doctrinal and ideological stances.
Peter and John found themselves caught up in the midst of that conflict. In Acts chapter four, this conflict was with the religio-political leadership among the Jews. It could just as easily have been Rome as Paul would experience in Philippi, Athens, and so many other parts of the Roman Empire. In this case the players happened to be the local Jewish authorities. They were unhappy with the content of Peter and John's preaching, as it countered their doctrinal preferences and ran afoul of the status quo.
They had b ...
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