Acts 5:38-39 (NLT)
38 “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”
Peter and the apostles were spreading the message of the gospel to the crowds of people and healing many who were sick. The Sadducees were filled with jealousy. They had the apostles placed in public jail. An angel of the Lord secretly released the men from jail and told them to go back to the temple to preach the message of life. Surprised the men were no longer in jail the religious leaders found them once again preaching in the temple. They confronted Peter and the apostles and after the apostles spoke of how Christ died by the hands of those claiming to be law abiders they threatened to put the apostles to death. One Pharisee named Gamaliel who was an expert in the law and well respected spoke to the leaders and gave the advice in the verses above.
Gamaliel is the Greek from of the Hebrew word meaning “reward of God”. Obviously respected, no matter how unwelcome his recommendation may have been, the other leaders acted upon Gamaliel’s word. When the apostle Paul spoke in Jerusalem he said, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under “Gamaliel”. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs.” Paul had learned from Gamaliel and had respected him for his teaching. Jewish accounts of Gamaliel say he died a Pharisee and when he died the honor of the Law ceased along with purity and piety. Early church history says he remained a part of the Sanhedrin, the ruling authority, but embraced Christianity and secretly helped Christian believers. While not much more is know about Gamaliel, his own words show he strongly believed in God’s authority. He understood God was in control and if God was with these men to preach the gospel then the battle would be against God. Do you acknowledge the control of God in your life? Daniel said it is God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny. Are you allowing God to control your destiny or are you trying to get through life on your own?