The apostles have just repeated their message with full force and when they (The council) heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. Have to say this is about what I expected – remember they were already “boiling”.
Out of this comes a genuine voice of wisdom – Mr. Gamaliel. He is a Pharisee, the minority in a sea of Sadducees, but a man respected on both sides of the aisle and honored by all the people. (Can’t help but think, this man has been being prepared for this moment by the life he has lived and God is just about to use him in a powerful way.)
After siting a couple of examples to prove his point Gamaliel speaks some very profound words:
So 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; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”
(It is a pointless place to be – opposing God – we would all agree. But it is not always so clear how one might come to this place. You may just be going along caught up in following your regular, dependable line of thinking. Sometimes cruising, sometimes having to tough through and you hit resistance. You push a little harder but it doesn’t move. You try a different angle, you explain, you think maybe you are supposed to keep trying – nothing changes. This is the crisis – the crossroad – the point of choosing: persevere or let it go?
Whether your direction is right or not, there is a snare in continuing – Gamaliel’s wisdom says “let it go.”
First, God will not be thwarted and He is perfectly able to care for whatever outcome He wishes. Put your focus on His sovereignty and off your responsibility.
Secondly, and probably most importantly, embracing a position of humility will prevent or rescue you from the untenable position of opposing God. If you have already pushed too far – sadly a place I can find myself too often – God has provided His grace – not condemnation. (James 4:6) There is a lot to be said about grace – unmerited favor. Unmerited for sure but His favor – His companionship, His approval and even His delight. One can only find comfort when embraced by grace.)
As God had planned the council took Gamaliel’s advice. Of course they had to get in a few punches for good measure and a little bullying – so I’m not so sure their hearts were really softened. But they did let the apostles go.
The apostles went away rejoicing! They were happy to be found worthy to suffer for Jesus. (There is a kind of empowering affirmation knowing it is Jesus that has brought you through a tough situation.) Next day they were right back at their job and they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
He has it all under control.
When uncertain, step away. His purposes will become evident.
About the World?
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! (Prov. 4:7)