Acts 5:38-39 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: 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.”
When did it become the Christian way to believe opposition was abnormal or that complaining about resistance helped resolve it? If you are a follower of Jesus and an American both your spiritual and physical experiences were birthed in conflict and resistance. Jesus was hunted, falsely accused and brutally killed by government and religious leaders, Peter and John were thrown in jail by civic leaders twice in the first five chapters of Acts for preaching and healing people and the United States was birthed in conflict as we broke away from Imperial Britain to form the greatest national experiment in the history of the world – people living under the premise of freedom.
True and abiding freedom will always meet resistance by those losing control. This is evident in personal, spiritual and organizational arenas. Whether you are a parent with teenagers transitioning to adulthood, experiencing spiritual battles in the wake of salvation and lifestyle changes, or an organization or government built upon suppressing or oppressing people, knowing when and how to release control is difficult.
For the freedom seeker, opposition should be expected. It’s the response of the controlling force that will define the origin of its cause. Gamaliel understood this principle and spoke godly wisdom when he counseled the ruling leaders to stop the rhetoric and jealous behavior. Wise people choose to look through the noise and rhetoric to the source. Gamaliel referenced Prov. 21:30in his advice to these leaders, “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.”
After Gamaliel finished and sat down, Peter and John were flogged for their trouble, verbally threatened to never share the gospel again and released. The disciples were not surprised or deterred by the opposition they faced, instead they rejoiced that they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name of Jesus and went right back to proclaiming the Good News and serving the poor and broken in the power of the Holy Spirit.
How do you respond when feeling like you are losing control?
Has fear of retribution or opposition silenced you or kept you from sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ?
Do you see any practical application of Gamaliel’s wisdom in your experience or circle of influence?
30 Days Toward Greater Faith
5. Opposition - Acts 5