Gamaliel

Gamaliel - Acts 5

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Gamaliel
ACTS 5 BIBLE STUDY
Acts 5:24-28 Chief Priests
Acts 5:29-33 Obey God rather than Men

Acts 5:34-42 Gamaliel

Acts 6 Bible Study
ACTS 5:34  34 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while.

Who was "Gamaliel" (Acts 5:34)?
"A Pharisee... a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people."

Why was he "respected by all the people"?
Gamaliel was the grandson of Hillel, the most renowned rabbi in Jewish history. When Hillel died in 10 AD, his son Simon (Gamaliel's father) took over Hillel's position as the nasi, which means president, of the Sanhedrin. Gamaliel may or may not have taken over the position when Simon died. What is undisputed is that Gamaliel was "held in respect by all the people."

To whom did Gamaliel teach the Jewish law?
Among others, Saul who later became the apostle Paul (see Acts 22)

Why did Gamaliel suddenly stand up and begin to speak?
They had begun to plot to "kill" the apostles (see obey God rather than men).

Why would he be particularly concerned about that?
Just hours earlier, the men they were plotting to kill had been miraculously freed from a secure prison that remained shut and securely guarded (see Sadducees). And instead of running away, the freed men had gone to the temple to teach, and what they said was true (see obey God rather than men). Gamaliel was the voice of reason. He also may have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in the apostles.

ACTS 5:35-39  35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it - lest you even be found to fight against God.”

How much do Gamaliel's words apply to today?
As much as they did back then. If any "plan or ... work is of men, it will come to nothing," as Jesus had said: "for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). But "if it is of God," nobody can "overthrow it" (Acts 5:39).

ACTS 5:40-42  40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

What is peculiar about Acts 5:40?
Since "they agreed with" Gamaliel, they should have just let the apostles go instead of beating them and commanding them "that they should not speak in the name of Jesus."

How did the disciples take the beating and their command?
"They departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." (Acts 5:41-42)

Was being beaten something that the apostles should really be "rejoicing" over?
Very much so, according to Jesus: "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:10-12).

What examples do the apostles set for us?
When we are persecuted for Christ, we should also "rejoice" for having been counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And when religious or other authorities try to stop us from sharing Christ, we should tell them as Peter did, "We ought to obey God rather than men," and "not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ" (Acts 5:42).

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