Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, March 17, 2024
Shavuah Tov,

“Whom Do We Fear?”
By Jerry Miller
Read Acts 5:12-32; 41-42

In Acts 5 the Lord was working through the emissaries (apostles) with powerful signs and wonders, but it says in v. 17 that the religious leaders were filled with jealousy.  Their response was to put the emissaries in prison and instruct them that they should not preach any more in the name of Yeshua.  That night an angel of the Lord came to release them from prison.  Did they go from there into hiding?  No, we find that they are right back in the Temple the next morning, proclaiming Yeshua once again.

When the religious leaders find out, they again call in the believers, though in v. 26 it says they were not forceful or violent with the believers, because “they feared the people.”  When they question the believers and challenge them for their actions, the response of the believers begins with the declaration, “we must obey God rather than men.”

The contrast here between the religious leaders and the believers is striking, as the Acts account describes each in contrasting terms.  The very first words out the mouths of the disciples, “we must obey God,” shows this contrast between the religious leaders versus the believers in Yeshua.

First, it’s interesting to note that Peter is the spokesman for the other emissaries here.  Consider the transformation that has clearly happened in his life.  Peter is the one whose fear of man caused him to deny Yeshua three times.  Yet, so great was his transformation that he not only does not shrink back from the religious leaders, but he goes on in the verses that follow to emphasize that these religious leaders were the very ones who killed Yeshua by crucifying Him (v. 30).  Peter goes on to say that the One they killed was ultimately exalted by God.  He’s telling them, in no uncertain terms, that they are actually opposing God through what they are doing.

To me, what stands out here is the complete opposite spirit that drove these two “sides.”  The religious leaders, in light of what had happened, with the believers being freed from prison miraculously, should have had a sense of the fear of God.  How can people be freed from prison when the doors are sealed shut?  Clearly there was a supernatural occurrence here.  Yet, it says they feared man.

On the other hand, the believers, if they had simply followed “common sense,” would have stopped preaching to “play it safe.”  But it says they feared God.  Fear of man blinds us from being able to see what God is doing.  Thus, the religious leaders could not recognize their “God moment.” They were in the midst of it and didn’t know it.

But on the other hand, fear of God can have the effect of “blinding” us, so to speak, to the threats that man may hold before us when we are determined to obey God at any cost. However; when we fear the Lord, we are not afraid of what man might do to us.  When we fear man, we end up losing sight of what God is truly doing, or wanting to do.

This is a question we all must ask of ourselves as we consider how we are living our daily life.  Who is it that we truly fear?  The answer to that question will determine whether we will live our lives according Kingdom vision and values, or if we will settle for “common sense” human thinking, as we are blinded to God’s Kingdom vision.  In essence, whether we fear God or man will determine whether we walk by faith or by sight.  May we live daily as those conscious of the choices before us and the opportunities God gives us for boldly declaring our faith and trust in the Lord, even in the midst of opposition.  May His grace strengthen us for representing Him well.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
7 Adar II Sunday 17-Mar-24
Leviticus 1:1-13 Isaiah 2 Psalm 142 Acts 9 Revelations 3