There were told to quit talking about Jesus. Peter and John had caused enough trouble and the religious leaders were annoyed at them “proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.” So they wanted them quiet!
But Peter and John could not be hushed that easily. When they were ordered to speak no more to anyone about Jesus, they answered:
Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:19-20).
Why couldn’t they be quiet? Rolland Allen in his book The Spontaneous Expansion of The Church: And The Causes That Hinder It, writes…
If we seek the cause which produces rapid expansion when a new faith seized hold of men who fell able and free to propagate it spontaneously of their own initiative, we find its roots in a certain natural instinct.
This instinct is admirably expressed in a saying of Archytas of Tarentum quoted by Cicero, “If a man ascended to Heaven and saw the beautiful nature of the world and of the stars, his feeling of wonder, in itself most delightful, would lose its sweetness if he had not someone to whom he could tell it.”
This is the instinctive force which drives me even at the risk of life itself to impart to others a new-found joy: that is why it is proverbially difficult to keep a secret.
It is not surprising then that when Christians are scattered and feel solitary this craving for fellowship should demand an outlet, especially when the hope of the Gospel and the experience of its power is something new and wonderful.
But in Christians there is more than this natural instinct. The Spirit of Christ is a Spirit who longs for, and strives after, the salvation of the woulds of men, and that spirit dwells in them.
The Spirit converts the natural instinct into a longing for the conversion of others which is indeed divine in its source and character.
Some things are so good that we just can’t keep quiet. Do we understand the gospel as one of those things? Do we see gospel as something so glorious that even angels long to look (1 Peter 1:12)?
May our eyes be opened today to see what we have in Christ and as a result, be compelled by the Spirit of God to make such incredible news known!