I was reading through the fifth chapter of Acts this morning and came across something that really stood out to me toward the end of the chapter. Remember that Acts is basically the story of the early church and the “acts” of the apostles after the death of Christ. The Sanhedrin (the group of political officials who voted to kill Jesus) are fighting the Apostles because they are basically telling everyone that the Sanhedrin killed the Son of God, which was true, but who wants that on their conscience?… The Sanhedrin has jailed them multiple times and they keep getting out, most recently by an angel who opened the door for them!
So, in verses 35-39, a Pharisee named Gamaliel stood before the group as they were plotting on how to get rid of the Apostles. He said the following:
“Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”
Good call buddy! How’d that one work out for you? The thing that amazes me is that it is the truth! If the Apostles were following someone that was not of God, they would have dwindled and definitely would not have been willing to be killed for Him. Peter was crucified upside down…I mean who would be willing to die that painfully for something that wasn’t true?
So, nearly 2000 years ago, good ole Gamaliel challenged the officials around him to just wait out the Apostles and to see if it would just pass. I wonder how people are still waiting and wondering if this Jesus guy is legit…