Saturday, June 13, 2009

Acts 5:17-42

They had just prayed for boldness in Chapter Four and now they were persecuted. Peters response is short and hit all the right buttons that would make them angry -- you killed him, God raised him, he sits exalted, and repent and be forgiven. That message to that audience is a "0" on a scale of 1-10 in terms of popularity. The Apostles stand fearlessly before the same crowd that crucified Jesus and say, "If it is right to obey men rather than God, you decide. We'll obey God."

Gamaliel's speech was persuasive. He cited two historical figures to say that if it is not from God, then it won't last. If it is from God and you oppose it, you'll be opposing God. So, leave them alone. News for them. . . we're still here!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been doing some reading on the Reformation over the past few months, and there are some marked similarities. The corrupt officials of the church, concerning themselves not as much with salvation and eternity as with retaining power on Earth, but being afraid to put down the upstart movement through open violence for fear of the people (v.26). I am interested in these cases where the common people seem to be the tool that God uses in order to protect and foster His true church. Examples of this can be found several times in the Gospels that we just read as well, where the established church leaders wanted to put Jesus to death much earlier, but were afraid of the people's response if they did. The hasmonean revolt also started among the hasidim, the pious, faithful people. I wonder if this might not be a great argument for the Congregational form of church government, which also formed as a result of the Reformation. The common, humble people of God's church seem often to be more sensitive to His leading than those who are used to being in authority. Clearly, there are strong leaders needed as well, but they are chosen by the people rather than by a grand council of those who are used to making such decisions on everyone's behalf.