Acts of the Apostles 5:27-33
When the officials had brought the apostles in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’
This so infuriated them that they wanted to put them to death.
John the Baptist said to his disciples:
‘He who comes from above is above all others;
he who is born of the earth is earthly himself
and speaks in an earthly way.
He who comes from heaven
bears witness to the things he has seen and heard,
even if his testimony is not accepted;
though all who do accept his testimony
are attesting the truthfulness of God,
since he whom God has sent
speaks God’s own words:
God gives him the Spirit without reserve.
The Father loves the Son
and has entrusted everything to him.
Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life,
but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life:
the anger of God stays on him.’
Obedience to God comes before obedience to man
Most, if not all, of us, are familiar with the stories of Christian martyrs. In the face of persecution, these martyrs did not want to die, they simply chose to continue doing what they were called by God to do. They were ready to accept whatever came with that choice, even if it meant death.
Peter was given the key task of leading the apostles and spreading the word of God to the masses after Jesus’ death. After Jesus was captured by the guards, Peter learned a painful lesson of what it felt like to betray his master. Although he had been so certain of his loyalty when Jesus told him about his betrayal, he was devastated when he realised that he had indeed denied his Lord three times before the cock crew. He had been obedient to his own fears of pain and suffering rather than to Jesus.
The transformation of Peter is evident, when in the first reading, we see that he speaks with absolute conviction even under threat of death. He had not given up hope in himself and in God after his previous act of betrayal, and it probably strengthened his resolve to stay loyal to Jesus.
We have probably found ourselves, at one time or another, doing or saying things against our own conscience. The guilt and remorse afterwards can make one feel very disheartened. But let us remember that we can all be like Peter, and use that experience to make ourselves stronger when we are faced with similar situations. Even if we feel that we are not up to it, remember that there is a God who will transform our weaknesses into our strengths.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for the deep faith that will increase our obedience to your word.
Thanksgiving: We thank you, Lord, for giving us so many chances to better ourselves as your children.
Fri, 06 May – Acts of the Apostles 5:34-42; John 6:1-15
Sat, 07 May – Acts of the Apostles 6: 1-7; John 6:16-21
Sun, 08 May – Acts of the Apostles 2:14.22-33; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35; Third Sunday of Easter