Monday, July 6, 2009

Don't worry, they'll go away!

There's a great story in Acts that I love reading. It's one of the few times that one of the religious leaders actually seems to have any sense. (Acts 5:17-6:7)

You see, the high priest and his flunkies were all ticked off at these new "Christ-followers" who were disrupting their comfortable order to everything. They dared to enter the temples and teach about this Jesus who was crucified, and they even went so far as to say that the religious leaders had killed him!

So they arrested the rag-tag troop, and threw them in prison. But then they went to the prison, and the Christ-followers weren't there. Somehow they'd walked right past the bars and guards and were once again in the temple teaching. "Odd, but no matter, we'll arrest them again," the religious leaders thought.

But then it gets good, and intelligent. One Pharisee, a guy named Gamaliel, stood up and captured the attention of the other hot-shots. Obviously a history buff, he wowed them with some knowledge and suggested learning from the past. He told them about other little movements: A guy named Theudas showed up one day, created a fuss, and about 400 people began following him. But then he was put to death, and the followers just sort of dispersed and went home. Another time, a Galilean named Judas started a revolt, and his team raised quite a fuss. Till he was killed, then they all went home.

"So," says Gamaliel, "Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Finally! Some intelligence from the religious community. If it's of man, it will fail. If it's of God, there's nothing we can do to stop it. 2000 years have passed now, I wish Gamaliel could be here today to tell us which one it was...

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