33 when they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 but a pharisee in the council named gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 and he said to them, “men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 for before these days theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 after him judas the galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. he too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 so in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. you might even be found opposing God!” so they took his advice, — [acts 5:33-39]
outside of this passage of scripture, I have never heard of thedus or judas of galilee. these men have no historic significance, and all I can teel you about them is they claimed to be important, and apparently weren’t.
in the midst of angry and rash men, gamaliel represents the voice of reason in the room. these pharisees thought they had snuffed out the teachings and followers of Jesus when they had him crucified. yet now, the words of the apostles were powerful in convincing the people that Jesus was indeed the messiah. It took gamaliel, a man of honor and wisdom to convince them that they just might be fighting against God instead of for him.
his words are excellent advice for us today. the purposes of God will always prevail, no matter how hard anyone tries to suppress Jesus or his followers. there is no weapon formed against us that shall prosper (isaiah 54:17), no matter how successful those weapons may look in the short term.
we may find ourselves persecuted, imprisoned, even surrendering our lives and all we own for the faith. yet just like these early believers, we remain triumphant in Christ no matter the circumstances. may we, like gamaliel, show wisdom in how we treat others, and take confidence that every purpose of man that stands against God will fail, and God will always receive the glory.
~ jason soroski