For We Cannot but Speak…
After Peter and John’s arrest for preaching about Jesus and the resurrection from the dead, they boldly declared, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20, KJV). What is it that caused this holy boldness, this unquenchable need to share Jesus Christ? They had an upper room experience with Jesus and “were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1). “Truths that had passed from their memory were again brought to their minds…like a procession, scene after scene of Christ’s wonderful life passed before them. As they meditated upon His pure, holy life, they felt that no toil would be too hard, no sacrifice too great, if only they could bear witness to the loveliness of His character” (The Acts of the Apostles, 36).
They were released but not before being severely threatened that they must not speak to anyone in the name of Jesus! But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard”(Acts 4:19,20). What a testimony to the grace of God in their lives. Ellen White writes, “One interest prevailed; one subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom” (The Acts of the Apostles, 48).
Do we grasp the meaning of the cross personally? If so, we, like Peter and John, would declare, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” As I think of rekindling the flame and sharing Christ, Proverbs 27:11 comes to mind. It is an urgent plea from the Lord Himself. He says to us, “My Son, be wise and make my heart glad, that I may answer Him who reproaches me.” We have a part to play in the great controversy. Our Father has asked us for help, to make His heart glad by being witnesses to His goodness and faithful loving-kindness. Grasping this, Paul proclaimed that God had made them a “spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.”
The apostle Paul gives us insight into sharing Christ. He demonstrated a spirit of humility and appreciation, saying in 1 Corinthians 15:9 that he was the least of the apostles. “But,” he says in verse 10, “by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain.” On his way to Jerusalem and certain death, the faithful apostle exclaimed with a heart full of gratitude to God, rejecting all pleas to attend to his safety: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
I pray that as we approach sharing Christ in our spheres of influence, our motivation will not be that we have to share but rather will be the result of having hearts full of gratitude for the lengths to which Christ went for us; that we will have a burning desire to make His heart glad; that we “cannot but speak” and be able to say with Paul, “and His grace toward me was not in vain.”