The religous rulers got into a rage when Peter told them the truth, it was them that had murdered Jesus and God had then raised him from the dead!

When they heard that, they were furious and wanted to kill them on the spot. But one of the council members stood up, a Pharisee by the name of Gamaliel, a teacher of God’s Law who was honored by everyone. He ordered the men taken out of the room for a short time, then said, “Fellow Israelites, be careful what you do to these men. Not long ago Theudas made something of a splash, claiming to be somebody, and got about four hundred men to join him. He was killed, his followers dispersed, and nothing came of it. A little later, at the time of the census, Judas the Galilean appeared and acquired a following. He also fizzled out and the people following him were scattered to the four winds.  “So I am telling you: Hands off these men! Let them alone. If this program or this work is merely human, it will fall apart, but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it—and you better not be found fighting against God!” Acts 5:33-36 (The Message)

One man kept his cool! Gamaliel was an older and respected member of the religous ruling council. While the others were raging he kept his cool. Previous experience had told him that if something was a passing fad led by someone who wasn’t the Messiah then it would fade away. Thank goodness for his insight and presence of mind. Because God had placed Gamalial in a position to influence others he saved the apostles lives!

It is sometimes hard to comprehend for churched Christian folk that God does have influence in the broader picture. The times when we talk to people and they turn out to be the most unlikely ‘supporters’ or at least tolerant of the gospel. We should be more courageous in speaking out for Jesus as God is already there, already working his plan, already influencing the outcome, already shaping the big picture.

May we take our steps to speak courteously and respectfully to all of Jesus knowing that our God has been at work there long before we arrived or opended our mouths to speak. Amen.

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