Continuing on through the Book of Acts, we arrive at one of my favorite passages of Scripture. In Acts 5, Peter and the disciples are at it again. Preaching in the name of Jesus when they have been warned to stop.
They continue anyway.
While they are threatened, they show no sign of wavering. One of the Pharisees, Gamaliel, escorts the disciples out and tries to reason with the angered religious leaders.
His comments are incredible:
- Time will tell. He mentioned that other religious movements had been squelched under their watch. Kill the popular leader and the followers will move on to the next best thing. In the case of Jesus, they had seen to it he was killed, so time will tell. If he’s just a man, it will go away. If it’s of God, back up lest you be found to be opposing him.
- Worthy to suffer. The disciples didn’t pray for safety. They didn’t pray for security. They didn’t pray for good circumstances. They went away rejoicing they were beaten and imprisoned for the sake of Jesus. We are so far from this type of mentality it’s not even funny.
- We’re still here talking about Jesus. If Jesus was just a man, this movement would have died out a long time ago. But 2000 years later, I had 40 college students stuffed in my playroom still obsessing about this man who was crucified years ago. Threatened with death, Peter and the disciples gladly faced martyrdom because they could not stop speaking about who they had seen and heard. They evangelized and planted churches. Those people evangelized and planted churches. The gospel spread throughout country after country and outlasted every ruler who tried to snuff it out. And in Greenwood, SC, a group of students from all walks of life were gathered together in that Name.
The church will withstand if it has something to stand upon. It’s still all about that Name.