“The Wisdom of Gamaliel”


BIBLE READING: Acts 4-6
                Even though Jesus had been resurrected and the church had been established, that did not stop the Jews from seeking to put a stop to this new movement of disciples.  In fact, after Peter and John heal the man at the gate, called Beautiful in Acts 3, Peter and John are arrested.  After being scolded rather harshly they commanded the men to not teach anymore in the name of Jesus Christ.  After their release, the disciples continue following the Great Commission and are arrested again for teaching in the name of Jesus.  This time they are placed in prison to ensure they would not continue their teaching.  However, during the night, an Angel of the Lord opens the prison doors and Peter and John continue doing what Jesus had commanded them to do.  When word had reached the Council as to what they could do to stop them, Gamaliel offered up some sound advice.  Gamaliel was a highly respected doctor of Jewish Law and was esteemed very highly by the members of the Sanhedrin.  He encouraged the Council to think back about the men who had started some sort of Messianic movement in the past, like Judas from Galilee and Theudas.  Both men began some sort of movement, but it was short lived and failed on its own merits.  He advises that they leave Peter and John alone; if their movement is of human origin it will fail on its own.  However, if the movement is from God, they would not be able to stop it even if they tried.  Gamaliel was right! The Council would have no control over the growth of the church.  In fact, as Jesus told Peter in Matthew 16, not even the gates of Hell would be able to prevail against it.  Gamaliel’s advice got me to thinking, if he was such a smart man, is it possible that Gamaliel might have seen the success of the Apostles and even obeyed the Gospel?  In fact, we know that Paul was a student of his and it would have been possible for Paul to go back and educate his teacher concerning the Way.  Scholars are undecided concerning the issue and I guess we will never know, but what we do learn for this man is lessons concerning the providence of God.   If God wills something to happen, it can’t be stopped.  We might as well get on board and adjust our life to fit His plan. I just hope Gamaliel got on board as well.
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