I came across a passage in Acts today that the Holy Spirit really allowed to stand out in my mind. Acts 5:33-42 picks up after the apostles appeared before the Sanhedrin, right after Peter tells them, “We must obey God rather than men.” They really didn’t want to hear that, and wanted him and the others dead. But a proinent rabbi named Gamaliel stands up.
According to Paul in Acts 22, Gamaliel was his teacher. He was a member of the Sanhedrin in high standing and was well respected. This group was likely to listen to what he had to say. He cited a couple of instances in the past where Jews led rebellions that failed because God was not a part of them.
His argument against killing them was a simple one. If they are not of God, history shows they will fail on their own; if they are of God, you won’t be able to stop them, and you will definitely be on the wrong side of that fight.
This ought to give us courage today. Those of us that agree to let God use us for His glory are on the winning side, even in the face of the secular world, political correctness, and governmental overstepping.
But the story didn’t end there.
The Sanhedrin didn’t kill them. But they did beat them. We don’t know if they received the 39 lash maximum or not. But a beating is a beating.
“Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” (v 41)
And they kept up the fight. The fight that we ought to be fighting today. May we be willing to take our “scourging” for our Lord and Savior by whose stripes we are healed, in whatever form it may come.