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 Jerusalem with 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!”
It is common wisdom not to ask questions you don’t want the answers to. In the 2020 presidential election, both Republicans and Democrats considered the opposing candidate to be dangerous, so all were afraid to ask who won the election.
The Jewish leaders of the Sanhedrin didn’t ask the apostles how they escaped from jail. They didn’t believe in or want to hear about a miracle. More obviously, they don’t mention Jesus by name. They know they’re “guilty of this man’s blood,” yet accuse the apostles of rendering them guilty. In their hearts, they know Jesus is the One whom God sent to save the world and that they are responsible for His death. They not only fear God but are afraid they will lose the power given them by the Jewish people.
In contrast, the apostles appeared unafraid before the Sanhedrin even though the Sanhedrin had the power to have them crucified as they did Jesus. But filled with the Holy Spirit, the apostles were confident that He who began a good work in them would carry it on to completion. (Philippians 1:6) This story perfectly illustrates how those without a savior fear life and how those who believe in Jesus and take refuge in Him have no reason to be afraid.
The Hebrew word, yirah, means both fear and revere. Unfortunately, translators have all too often translated it to “fear God” instead of “revere God.” God doesn’t want us to fear Him. He wants us to love and respect Him and others. With His new covenant, Jesus gave us only two commandments to follow: “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37)
Father God, I respect you and praise you for giving me One who saves me from wrongdoing, problems, and enemies. He solves my problems, defeats my enemies, and takes away sin when I pray and repent. With the power of your Holy Spirit, I have nothing to fear. Today as I am weak, fill me with the Holy Spirit and show those around me that in adverse circumstances I can be joyful with Your help. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.