Saturday, May 07, 2011

Gamaliel's Advice

Peter and John were preaching. The Sanhedrin was not happy: "Let's lock 'em up." The angel opens the prison doors; John and Peter resume their preaching the next day. "Shut up!" But Peter and John didn't shut up. "What are we going to do now?" "I know; let's kill 'em." That's when Gamaliel stood up and advised the Sanhedrin to knock it off. "If this movement is from man, it will fizzle out on its own. If it's from God, you can't stamp it out, and you ought not be fighting against God." So the Sanhedrin took the proverbial chill-pill, beat up the apostles, and sent them on their way without assassination attempts.

How come we know what went on in this "executive session" of the Sanhedrin? Because Paul was there.

Wait a minute. Paul was there? He grew up in Jerusalem (Acts 22:3) and his mentor was, of all people, Gamaliel. He had respect for his teacher. And yet, his teacher said to leave the Christians alone. Saul didn't leave them alone. He persecuted the Church, hunting down Christians to imprison them and murder them.

When Jesus called Saul to be a Christian and an apostle, He said, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads."

Hadn't Gamaliel told Paul something similar?

If it were me, after God had claimed me, I would seriously regret having blown off my mentor's objective advice.

No wonder Paul had clear memories of that meeting of the Sanhedrin.

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