Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!Acts 5:29 NIV
Peter and John had earlier been commanded by the Jewish authorities not to speak to the people about Jesus. A command they refused to obey. And now they found themselves, along with the other apostles, back before the same court. Charged with disobedience to their earlier command. And the apostle’s response to the charge is similar to what it was the first time. “We must obey God rather than humans.“
Concerning Civil Disobedience
I believe that Peter’s response to the authorities here was the appropriate response for him to take. But I also believe that there are a couple of things to consider before we do the same thing. The first is to be sure that we are really obeying God when we act in ways that are contrary to our civil authorities. I have known many people over the years who, at least in my opinion, confused their own positions or opinions with direction from God. If you are going to take a stand for God, make sure that you are really standing with him.
And the second thing to consider is that there is oftentimes a price to be paid for taking your stand. In this case, the apostles were threatened with death and were flogged before being released. Their obedience to God did not protect them from harm. It actually caused them physical suffering. But they left rejoicing to have been counted worthy to suffer for Christ. When God calls on you to take an unpopular stand, and you suffer for it, don’t mope and complain. Instead, rejoice in the privilege of suffering for Christ.