Sunday, February 12, 2012

Acts 5:35-39a

Summary retelling of Acts 5:35-39a:

Gamaliel stands up and cautions the Sanhedrin about taking an impassioned action.  Gamaliel then reminds the Sanhedrin about several other so-called Messiahs who rose up in power.  When the other so-called Messiahs rose up in power and were subsequently killed, their movement died off.  Gamaliel suggests that since Jesus was already killed, the prudent thing to do is to sit back and watch what happens with the Jesus Christ movement.  If it withers, then time will take care of the problem for them.  If it doesn’t wither, then it must be from God and they will have saved themselves the error of fighting against something from God.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
Again, let’s begin by focusing on the wisdom of our elders.  Gamaliel’s advice here is sound and true.  It is great advice for the long run – although probably not very satisfying in the short term to those members who wanted to be done with these troublesome disciples.  How important it is to have people who can give us sound advice when we are not able to arrive at the correct conclusion on our own because of our passion!

So let me ask again.  Who are your elders that you rely upon?  Who consistently gives you sound and solid advice?  How can you work to develop yourself so that you can become like them?

Second Thought:
Much of Gamaliel’s advice has to do with letting “time” take over.  Actually, what it is really saying behind the scenes is that we should stop and give God the time that God needs to work.  So often we like to jump ahead of God because we think that we know God’s agenda.  It is good for those of us who have limited perspectives – that’s us as humans – to wait for the one who has an infinite perspective – that’s God.

Why do we so often fall into making the mistake of going before God and acting in a rash manner?  Why is it so hard for us as human beings to wait for God to act?

Third Thought:
Finally, let’s take a moment to lift up the importance of history.  History teaches us about human nature.  In most cases, if we can find a pattern in the past we can understand what is likely to happen in the future.  This is true about politics, about religious movements, about geographical wars, etc.  Yes, God is the true source of knowledge.  But quite often one of the best places to look for God’s wisdom and knowledge is in the past.

Do you enjoy learning about the past or do you struggle with seeing how the past is important?  Do you think some of the answer to the prior question depends on your interest in the topic being studied?  {For example, I am very interested in learning the history of God and God’s people.  But I am not so interested in learning the history of the English monarchy.}

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 5:39b-42
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