34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while.
35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men.
36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.
37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered.
38 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;
39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice,
40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
Acts 5:34–40 ESV Read More
Sometimes, as Christians, we give unbelievers a bad rap. I mean, hear me out, I know Ephesians says we were once children of wrath, like they were, and that there is a huge horrible list in Romans 1 of the kinds of people that deserve eternal judgment…but there are some times that it might do us and the church some good to listen.
Like when Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, who knew nothing about Yahweh or the Torah, gave Moses advice to appoint some judges and saved pretty much all of Israel. When Gideon hear the Amalakite talking about his dream that involved barley bread and flattened tents, Gideon knew the Lord was speaking. Through an Amalakite?
Even one of the priests that was part of the killing of Jesus ‘accidentally’ prophesied that it was better for one man to die for the whole group of people.
Yep, even at Jesus’ trial, God was speaking through the wicked men trying to kill Him. That is the grace and glory of God in action.
Even better, Gamaliel was one of the top teachers in Israel at the time. Only the best of the best Rabbis were able to study under him. He may not have been around in Jerusalem for the crucifixion of Jesus, but he may have been. He’s certainly here now, and likely with one of his students named Saul. As far as fighting with God goes, poor young Saul will lose in a few chapters, get blinded, and follow a new Rabbi teacher that is greater. (But that’s a story for another day.)
Gamaliel’s plan is to let this group be and not oppose them any more. That would have been great, had they fully followed his advice. The court had John and Peter whipped and set free. Their whipping woulnd’t have been the scourge that Jesus experienced. This was a Jewish beating that was limited to 40 lashes. Somebody had to count out 39 and then say stop, just in case they accidentally missed on of the lashings. You don’t want to go over on your whipping and break the Torah, for goodness sake!
God is always reaching out to people for them to hear His call for them. It’s good discernment for us to hear and listen, even from unlikely sources.