Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Wisdom of Gamaliel

I always pronounced it guh-MAY-lee-ul, but apparently it's pronounced GAMMA-lyle. So who is he and who cares, right?

From theBible:
Acts chapter 5, v33-39
5:33 Now when they heard this, they became furious and wanted to execute them. 5:34 But a Pharisee whose name was Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the council and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. 5:35 Then he said to the council, “Men of Israel, pay close attention to what you are about to do to these men. 5:36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and nothing came of it. 5:37 After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census, and incited people to follow him in revolt. He too was killed, and all who followed him were scattered. So in this case I say to you, stay away from these men and leave them alone, because if this plan or this undertaking originates with people, it will come to nothing, 5:39 but if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them, or you may even be found fighting against God.”
(NET Bible, copyright © 2005-2009 )

So Jesus has died, risen and ascended into heaven at this point in the historical narrative. The apostles have gone into and out beyond Jerusalem to spread the news about Jesus being the savior. This upset the Jewish leaders. Ticked them off. They were ready to kill Jesus's followers, especially the apostles and Peter the most. Did you catch what Gamaliel said? This has happened before and it came to nothing. If it's from people, it'll die off. If it is from God, you can't stop them; what's worse, you may even be found fighting against God.

So where do you fit into the equation? You can't dismiss the question base upon personal beliefs, either. You might take the time here to look up Pascal's Wager. The risk is too great and the evidence is stacked against you. Think of it in the context of Gamaliel: He expected the apostles' movement to die off quickly. That was nearly 2000 years ago, and their movement lives on all across the earth. I'm betting that it was from God.

Oh, and his Son.

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