God’s Next Move

Acts 5:34-42

With the apostles standing before the Sanhedrin, having just infuriated everyone to the point of murder, something happens that is surprising to say the least. The greatest of the Pharisees in those days was a man named Gamaliel. He was highly respected by all, had descended from a line of Pharisaic superstars and was the greatest of the teachers of the law; most scholars believe that he was the mentor of a fellow called Saul of Tarsus, whom we will meet soon in Luke’s narrative.  Right at the moment of greatest fury, Gamaliel rises to speak…

He reminds the Sanhedrin that there have been false teachers before, and that they soon run out steam and then are gone, for their teaching comes from men (5:35-37). After citing a couple of names, he comes to his point:

Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (5:38-39)

His argument carried the day; the high priest ordered the apostles flogged, gave them another warning and let them go. Luke mentions this almost as though it were nothing, but let’s remember that they would at minimum be scarred for life after this, and over the years many who received 39 lashes died from infection of the resulting wounds; this was no small matter, and as a result, the apostles rejoiced!

Upon release, they continued their teaching, even going from house to house in flagrant disregard of the Sanhedrin’s warning, for they were, at the leading of the Holy Spirit, moving forward with their purpose to do God’s will (5:41-42).

Soon, the Good News would spread into the surrounding regions…

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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3 Responses to God’s Next Move

  1. What is amazing to me is that they got out of bed the next day, backs bent over, probably dripping with olive oil and honey over them, and in severe pain every step. But they went out and preached and hurt and preached and hurt. I can imagine their grit as they had to pause now and then to get mental control over the pain so they could resume.

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