Every time I read Acts 4:20 I am struck by how the message about Jesus should work. As the book of Acts begins, what Peter makes clear in each of his first Christian sermons is that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah. For example, Acts chapter 2 and the coming of the Holy Spirit is much more about God declaring Jesus as Lord and Messiah then it is about the coming of the Holy Spirit on God’s people (though it is about that too!). It’s the fact that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah that means the Holy Spirit now comes (Acts 2:32-36). Or, take the healing event of chapter 3 with the lame man. It is by the name and power of Jesus, who is both Lord and Messiah, that this man is now healed.
It’s the same when it comes to Peter and John’s words in Acts 4:20. The fact that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah means that Peter and John are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard. No matter how much the court and religious leaders of the day try to scare and threaten them about speaking of Jesus (Acts 4:17-18), they are unable to stop speaking because they know that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah. They know that it is right to listen to God’s declaration about Jesus rather than the threats of man (Acts 4:19).
But it’s more than that. Peter and John know there is salvation in no one else [but Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it (Acts 4:12). Thus, how could they not speak about the name that saves people? How could they not speak about the name that saved them! Jesus so loved them that he died for them, which in turn grew a great love in them for Jesus.
Acts 4:20 always strikes me because it makes me ask myself, “what am I unable to stop speaking about?” We often speak about the things we love. There are some people I know that can’t help but speak of football every time I see them, be it the inferior oval ball variety or the far more superior round ball variety. It’s always football, football, football!
Or, for some, it’s their holiday adventures – be it in the future, or in the past – with the 1000s of photos to share and to speak about.
For others, it’s their TV shows and the latest Netflix series. Their faces light-up and glow when they speak about the show. They’re so animated as they re-tell the latest episode!
All those things aren’t necessarily bad. We can find joy in those things. There is a gift of God in those things. But people can’t help but speak about the things they love. They love them, so they mediate on it. And read about it. And listen to it. And so, speak of it.
But don’t we have the most incredible truth to love in the message of our Lord Jesus? Don’t we have the most amazing words to speak concerning the Lordship of Jesus the Christ? Aren’t we beneficiaries of the most loving act in all of history?
Acts 4:20 always strikes me because it makes me question what is that I am unable to stop speaking about. It causes me to refocus my eyes on Jesus. To meditate on him more. And listen to him more. And pray through him more. And as I do those things, my love for him grows and grows, and I am reminded of his Lordship, which leads to my being emboldened to speak of him.
At the beginning of Acts 4 the powers that be and religious leaders ask Peter and John a very simple question. They ask by what power or in what name have you healed this man (Acts 4:7)? Their answer is simple. There is only One name. Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord and Messiah. Let us boldly speak his name.