In his powerful book Unspeakable, Os Guinness wrestles with the problem of evil in the world. In one section, he focuses on the Nuremberg trials that followed World War II. The Nazis stood charged with crimes against humanity, and their mantra of defense was simple: “I was merely following orders.” The verdict, however, was that the soldiers had a moral obligation to defy orders that, though legal, were clearly wrong.
In a much different context, Peter and the disciples were arrested for presenting the message of the risen Christ and brought before the religious rulers in Jerusalem. Rather than allowing themselves to be shaped by the mood of the mob, the disciples declared their intention to continue preaching Christ.
The orders of the religious establishment may have been legal, but they were wrong. When the disciples chose to obey God rather than the godless religious leaders, they raised a standard of conviction that rose above the opinions of the rulers of this world.
The trials we face may test our commitment. But we will find opportunities to exalt the King if we trust Him for the strength to go beyond the words of the crowd-pleasers and do right as He defines it in His Word.
Say not, “The days are evil. Who’s to blame?”
And fold the hand and acquiesce—oh, shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God’s name,
Be strong! —Babcock
We must choose daily the way of the cross over the way of the crowd. —Warren