“Here’s my recommendation in this case: Distance yourselves from these men. Let them go! If their plan or activity is of human origin, it will end in ruin. If it originates with God, you won’t be able to stop them. Instead, you would actually find yourselves fighting God!” — Acts 5:38-39
These words were spoken by a Pharisee, Gamaliel, sitting on the Sanhedrin, which was like the Supreme Court. These Jewish leaders were grilling the apostles, who had been teaching and healing in Jesus’ name. Many were “furious and wanted to kill them” (Acts 5:33) as these early Christians witnessed to their faith.
Those hotheads were a lot like what we see in our world today. Politically, socially, religiously: so many people are so sure of themselves and, thus, quick to angrily condemn those who think or live differently.
But not all on the Sanhedrin were like that. It’s amazing that Gamaliel talked them into dropping the stones they were ready to throw at the apostles. When he suggested they wait for God to give the thumbs up/thumbs down on this Christian movement, he was making quite a statement:
- What we think is right may not be.
- God knows more than us.
- We should focus on things other than condemning people.
Note that most people act just the opposite of Gamaliel. They think they’re right. They act like they know more than God. They delight in name-calling, judging, condemning.
Such people will always be in the majority. It’s up to us who call ourselves Christians to model another way. That wise Jewish leader showed us the way.
Update from Last Week
I ended last week’s meditation by inviting you to consider in what terms you “measure” your life. My sister (and my role model in many ways!) responded very thoughtfully. I thought you’d appreciate what she wrote:
I measure my life in times I can stop and feel sunshine and smile. And having all of my life on my terms instead of watching a clock for deadlines. The absolute joy I know when I’ve spoken to friends and somehow made them feel better. The love of my family and the anticipation of things to come…life is absolutely as long as it’s meant to be.