John says that Jesus is the firstborn from the dead, the first of humanity to be resurrected into his new,eternal body, as well as the ruler of the kings of the earth, the ruler of rulers, and the king of all kings.John reminds us that Jesus, the most powerful human being who ever lived, both God and man, has set
death and resurrection.Jesus lived, so that we might find
. Jesus died and rose again so that we might be set
from sin anddeath, so that we might live again, in new unbreakable, un-sick-able, eternal bodies.But what about that obedience stuff?Remember all the trouble that Jesus had with the Pharisees? The Pharisees were all about
and Jesuswas all about
. The Pharisees wanted everyone to obey the rules but Jesus wanted everyone tounderstand that our obedience needed to grow out of our love for God. In
we realize thatthe Disciples had finally understood what Jesus was trying to tell them…
The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest.
“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalemwith your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.
God exalted him tohis own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.
We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obeyhim.”
The Disciples had been arrested and brought before the religious court, known as the Sanhedrin, the rulingcouncil of the Temple, and these religious leaders had demanded that they should stop telling everyoneabout Jesus. But the Disciples
stop and they got brought before the Sanhedrin
… and whenthey are reprimanded for their persistence in preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ, the apostles say,“
We must obey God rather than human beings!”
The Disciples knew who Jesus was and they knew that, as witnesses, they had an obligation to tell thetruth about Jesus even if that meant disobeying the leaders of the Temple and breaking the rules. Theyknew that obedience was important, but of far greater importance was
they would be obedient.They could choose to be obedient to the church leaders because of their demands or out of fear of their threats. They could choose to be obedient to their Roman overlords in fear of violence and death. Instead,they chose to be obedient to God and to Jesus because they were motivated by love, respect, thankfulnessand a commitment to the truth.I have often said, and it’s worth repeating, that Jesus Christ is, and always has been, more concerned aboutyour heart condition than anything else. All that we do, all that we say, everything that we are, should bemotivated by our hearts and not by some strict adherence to the rules. Are we called to obedience? Yes,we are. But we obey, not out of fear, but out of love.When I was in college, or shortly after I had graduated, my brother, Dean, and I drove from Akron, Ohioto East McKeesport, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh. We got up early, and drove three hours to our grandparent’s house, so that we could paint grandma’s garage. I was already an adult and had been out of 3