FRIDAY, SECOND WEEK OF EASTER
Acts 5: 34-42; Ps 27: 1, 4, 13-14; Jn 6: 1-15
EVERYTHING HAPPENS WITHIN GOD’S PERFECT PLAN
At the end of yesterday’s reading, we saw that the members of the Sanhedrin were so infuriated by the boldness of Peter and his companions that they wanted to put them to death. It was at this point that Gamaliel, a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin stood up and asked that the accused disciples be put out of the chamber for a short time. Gamaliel was a teacher of Paul. He was a leading exponent of a more liberal and humane interpretation of the Law. As soon as the apostles had left the chamber, he addressed the assembly. He warned his fellow council members not to be hasty in their judgments. He reviews the fate of two prominent figures – Theudas and Judas the Galilean, and of those they inspired noting that – their movements have failed because they were started by men – this movement will fail unless it was started by God.
How different the outcome of this encounter might have been without the rabbi’s intervention. The Sanhedrin was persuaded by Gamaliel’s argument, but they still went on to express their anger and quite unjustifiably – had the apostles flogged. This certainly might have reminded them of what happened to their Master. The council then repeated their orders for the apostles to stop preaching. Far from being cowed or depressed, Peter and his companions left the court, full of joy, that they had been judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of Jesus’ name.
Gamaliel’s guidance may seem to have played a relatively small role in the grand scope of God’s plan i.e to convince this group on the Sanhedrin to release these few disciples of Jesus. Yet by doing so, by arguing convincingly for their freedom, he advances God’s plan, because these men went on to spread the Gospel of Jesus throughout the world. The apostles experienced the blessedness that Jesus had spoken of in the Sermon on the Mount.
Response: There is one thing I ask of the Lord, to live in the house of the Lord.
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