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ACTS 5/17-42

INTRODUCTION:

There are few more scary sights than a religious leader filled with jealousy! One of those more scary sights would be a whole bunch of religious leaders filled with jealousy. That is what we are about to encounter. But to keep something of balance, we will also encounter a religious leader filled with wisdom.

[1] THE GUARDIANS OF TRUTH.

The Sadducees were more of a political party than a religious group (the Aristocrats) whereas the Pharisees were passionately committed to the purity of doctrine. The Sadducees were given privileges by the Roman Overlords whereas the Pharisees wanted nothing to do with these secular authorities.

The Sadducees recognised quickly that their privileged positions were under threat because of the new ‘religion’ in town. It was growing at an enormous rate. Unrest would not be tolerated by the Romans. Since the stern warning didn’t work (4/13-18), maybe a night in the “cooler” would show them that the priests etc. were serious in their opposition.

“Cut off the head of the snake and the problem is solved”. Remove the leadership of this new group and it will die. But do it discreetly, Why? Read 5/13 and 5/26.  So the High Priest moved quickly to neutralise the leaders. But when you are up against divine activities and interfering angelic beings (Read 5/17-20), the outcome is fairly predictable! The authorities themselves were perplexed. Things were getting out of hand. (5/24).

Peter drove home the charge of murder (as expected by the High Priest). Summarise Peter’s message to the High Priest and the full council (5/29-33).

[2] A WISER HEAD PREVAILS  (vs.33-41)

Who knows where things would have gone if Gamaliel had not stood and taken control. He may not have been an Angel but his impact was very significant at what was a very strategic moment in the life of the Church.

Given that this is the only place in Scripture where we have the best insight into this man’s beliefs and practices, list those qualities that appeal to you.

Discuss Gamaliel’s approach, his line of argument and the conclusion he submits to the Council.

Acts 5:41-42 (NLT)
The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”

Something to ponder: According to Acts 22/3, Saul of Tarsus was trained by Gamaliel. I wonder if Saul was present that day when his mentor gave that advice to the Jewish Council? If he was, he chose to ignore that advice and became a persecutor of the Church.

 

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