4/17/16 A Voice Of Reason

At Peter’s words, an uproar ensues in the Sanhedrin.  They are furious – how dare Peter challenge them and imply that they are going against God’s will?  They are the religious leaders of Israel!  They know God’s will better than anyone else, certainly better than any uneducated Galilean fisherman!  Calls for their death ring out from several members.  But before anything can escalate, one of the elders of the Sanhedrin, a man named Gamaliel, who is renowned for his wisdom regarding the Holy Scriptures, stands up and asks for silence.  “Guards, please take these men outside while we deliberate,” he says.  Silence reigns as the apostles are escorted from the room.  The heavy doors close with a bang and all eyes look to Gamaliel.  “Members of the council, I must caution you.  You may recall that some years ago a man named Theodus came to lead a band of rebels by claiming to be the Messiah.  Somewhere around 400 people followed him, until the authorities captured and killed him and his followers dispersed, never to be heard from again.  Then again, about thirty years ago, a Galilean man named Judas also claimed to be the Messiah and gathered a following.   Once again, he was captured and killed and his followers dispersed, never to be heard from again.  So I tell you, leave these men alone.  If what they are doing is of their own volition, they will fail.  But if it is of God, as they claim, then nothing that we do will stop them, and we will be found to be working against God.”  The Sanhedrin sits in silence for a moment, contemplating Gamaliel’s words.  Nods from some of the senior members prompt a vote, and the group decides to follow Gamaliel’s advice.  The apostles are returned to the chamber.  “You will be whipped for your insubordination.  And you are strictly prohibited from teaching in this blasphemer’s name from here on out,” Caiaphas proclaims to the apostles.  The Temple guards whip them and let them go.  But instead of mourning their misfortune, the apostles are joyful as they leave the Temple courtyard.  They have been found worthy to suffer for their faith, and that knowledge has given them new strength.  The next morning, they resume their teaching at Solomon’s porch as usual.  Nothing will stop them from carrying out the mission that Jesus gave them before He went to Heaven.


Acts 5:33-42


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