Acts 5:27-32 (NRSV)
Verse 27When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, Verse 28saying, "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man's blood on us." Verse 29But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than any human authority. Verse 30The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. Verse 31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. Verse 32And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him."
In this post-Easter account, the apostles are arrested for preaching Jesus Christ, crucified, whom God raised from the dead. They were brought before the Sanhedrin and the High Priest Annas. He commanded them to explain why they were teaching in this name, not even mentioning Jesus name directly. Peter responded that he and the apostles had to obey God before any other authority.
Obedience is the focus. “I am the LORD your God. You shall have no other gods before me.” Peter affirms: “We must obey God.” Luther suggests that he had difficulty getting past this First Commandment in his confessions. The Christian life begins and ends with who our God is. It is God who empowers us through the Holy Spirit to love our neighbor as ourselves. Peter concludes that the Holy Spirit is given by God to those who obey him, and so he and the others were committed to witness to the resurrected Christ.
Heavenly Father, help us to focus on you and confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Amen.