Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
Let’s move past the Ananias and Sapphira story that is in direct contrast to that of Barnabas and see what was happening in the fellowship.At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.”
The disciples of Jesus weren’t able to be locked up, because the message of this life must be shared! So after they were freed by God from the jail, they went back into the Temple to continue teaching about Jesus. The jail-break and the freedom the disciples felt to continue to lift up the NAME OF JESUS embarrassed the religious leadership. So, they brought them back in, giving them strict orders not to speak in the NAMEPeter responded to this: “We must obey God rather than men”. This infuriated these leaders badly enough that they intended to put them to death! Then God used a Pharisee by the name of Gamaliel, who was a teacher of the Law, highly respected by all the people. Gamaliel was one of Paul’s teachers, too.
“Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. “For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. “After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. “So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”
NOTE this very carefully. The Lord uses here a religious leader to calm the angry leaders down and to put everything into perspective. Who was this man? 1. He was a well-respected man. 2. He was a God-fearing man. 3. He didn’t have all the answers. 4. He was willing for God to demonstrate Himself by the fruit of the situation.Gamaliel seems to have a heart bent toward the Lord, seeking His will and ways. You know, there are lots of people like Gamaliel out there, who may not be the “right” denomination or hold to the “right” doctrines and beliefs as you believe you do. Who was it that God used to gather the people of Nineveh to hear Jonah preach? It was the king! You see, our Lord is greater than our denominational or non-denominational affiliation and more awesome than our finite doctrinal boxes we have established. HE IS THE GOD OF GODS! So, be careful to keep out of His way, when He has a plan to raise up a leader that doesn’t quite fit your list of “righteous” people.
NOTE the continuation of the movement: And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
This is how it works! It’s not only in Jerusalem, but the teaching and preaching of Jesus as God’s Messiah is going on continually throughout the world! God continues to open doors that no man can shut and shut doors that no man can open! He is awesome!