A dramatic courtroom scene in Acts brings us a lesson in wisdom and judgment.
[Darris McNeely] The scene in the chamber was one of tremendous emotion and anger. One group of men against another. Furious, accusations, fear. What was going on? It’s the story in the book of Acts where the Jewish council had called the apostles before them commanding them to stop their preaching the gospel in the temples in Jerusalem and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God.
And on this courtroom trial, we find in the book of Acts 5, one of those scenes of the Bible that just speaks tremendous wisdom to us. And all the anger of the Jewish leaders against the apostles, the disciples that Christ had trained and worked with, they wanted them to stop, to cease and desist what they were doing with the preaching of the gospel. In the midst of that scene, one man stood up and said, “Put these apostles out, put these men out and let’s have our own secret private deliberation here for a moment.” That man was Gamaliel. He was a revered teacher of the law. He was one of those men of wisdom and stature that could command the respect of all the different factions of the Jewish leaders at the time.
Gamaliel recounted a lot of the history of the story of Israel and how they had had other leaders to stand up and try to lead the Jews off into rebellion, into insurrection against the Roman rule. All of them had come to nothing, he said. Now, he said regarding these men, these apostles, here’s what he said. He said, “Stay away from these men. Let them alone. For if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing. But if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it lest you even be found to fight against God.”
Let them alone, he said. Let their work play out. Let their message go on. If it’s only theirs, then it’ll come to nothing like everyone else’s had. But he said, if it’s of God, you’ll be fighting against God. Well, they beat up the apostles and gave them another warning and let them go. The rest of the story is really a story of the church and the growth of the church and the gospel in that time setting because it was of God.
But here’s the wisdom of one man, and it speaks to us today. Let them alone. Let God do His work. Have the wisdom to see where God is working, what God is doing, with whom God is working and don’t let emotions, don’t let anger, don’t let prejudice, preconceived ideas create such an air of tension and anger and problems and anything that you might be involved with. Let things alone. Leave them alone, Gamaliel said. Let God do His work.
It’s good advice at many different levels for us to think about as we view our interactions as disciples. Most importantly, let us let God do His work. Let’s take hands-off sometimes and step back and let God do His work where He’s going to do it because it is going to be done. An important lesson from a Jewish leader comes down to us through the ages.
That’s “BT Daily,” join us next time.