We are often tempted to not obey the rules, laws and authorities in our various contexts – when it is inconvenient, or costly, or makes us uncomfortable. At times, Jesus’ disciples chose not to obey the authorities, and they suffered the consequences. So, is it ever okay not to obey the authorities?
Acts 5:12-42 describes an extraordinary period of the early church. Many people were being healed, sometimes just by Peter’s shadow falling on them as he passed by. And, “more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.” (Acts 5:15). Consequently, the high priest and all his associates were filled with jealousy and arrested and imprisoned the apostles. The Lord promptly rescued the apostles, and commissioned them to return to the temple courts and start preaching Jesus again. Once they had been rearrested they were again commanded by the authorities to stop teaching about Jesus. The apostles’ response was,
“We must obey God rather than human beings! (Acts 5:29)
When is it right to disobey the authorities in our contexts, and what might this look like?