A new brother in the Lord returned home to his parents to let them know that he had been baptised into Christ. The reaction of his father showed that the news had somehow preceded him. Before he could say a word, his father said, “I have my own faith and I don’t want you to try to make me believe yours.” When repeating the story to me he said, “If my father ever had a faith in Jesus, that was the first time I had ever heard anything of it in my life.”
I would say that similar scenes are played out in many more homes than we might suspect. And even in homes where religious views are freely voiced, it doesn’t necessarily follow that new ideas are welcome.
The apostles, Peter and John, found themselves on trial before members of the Sanhedrin for healing a crippled man in the name of the resurrected Christ (Acts 4:1-22). Realising that an undeniable miracle had been performed the leaders sought to stop this new “sect” in its tracks. So, they “commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18).
Concerning these orders Peter and John could express but one conviction: “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). As witnesses of the resurrected Christ, they could not keep quiet about Jesus. To do so would be to deny that “salvation is found in no one else” (Acts 4:12).
Like the Sanhedrin, many will expect you to keep your convictions to yourself. Others, though admiring your zeal, will still prefer that you “tone it down a bit.” They desire a nonintrusive Jesus; a Jesus who lets you get on with your life, but whose name is on call when needed. Of course, no such Jesus exists!