Have you ever heard the name Gamaliel? Me either until we came across it in our devotionals last month. As far as I can tell he only shows up once in the Bible, in Acts 5. Further research shows that he was a respected teacher of Jewish law and a doctor of the law. We see a small glimpse into his life, not let’s look what’s going on in Acts 5.
Paul and other Apostles have already been warned about teaching Christ. Of course, they went straight from prison to preach what Christ had done for everyone to the people. When the chief priests and Pharisees heard this they brought them into the court. They wanted them dead and fast. As you can imagine the court was pretty one sided. Until Gamaliel stepped up, told them to give the Apostles space, and brought the court to remembrance of Thadeus and Judas of Galilee. These two men pointed men to themselves. In the end they were slain and the followers scattered.
His words, “38And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
39But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
Wise words from a Sanhedrin. If these men aren’t preaching the truth and turning men toward themselves or another man then nothing will come of it. Look at those in the past who did the same. If these men be for God we cannot stop them. Not sure what the response was from the people, but they ultimately listened. They beat Paul and the other apostles then let them go with the instruction of not to continue to teach.
What did Paul get out of this? Later on in Acts we see Paul talking about his upbringing.
“I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day.” – Acts 22:3
Paul got a beating and let go to continue preaching. He did pick up a nugget that he shared with his letter to the church in Rome. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Does this sound familiar?
31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
What was the last beating you went through? Did you receive what God was giving you so that you could share with others later on?