Series: The Mvmnt
Message: Persecution and Growth
Preacher: Alex Bryan
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Purpose: Jessyka Albert
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin today in prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Acts 5:17-42 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: It is because of the Sadducees’ jealously (Acts 5:17) and fear that they arrested the apostles in the first place. They ultimately wanted to have them killed. This was not simply a committee disagreement. This was not “let us agree to disagree.” This was life and death. The apostles had been warned already to stop speaking of Jesus. Peter’s reply was to draw a deep line in the sand (Acts 5:29-32) and to call everyone out. Perhaps this was not the Peace 101 negotiation tactic of the year, but it certainly demonstrated a deep, unstoppable conviction.
Naturally, those of us who are Christians look at this story in awe. Peter was not advocating retaliation. He was not rallying people to go to war. He was not suggesting that the apostles do something horrible in response. He simply clearly stated that he could only be faithful to God.
Gamaliel, from the school of Hillel, was a Jew who believed in following God’s law but also in giving others the freedom to decide what is right. He was the teacher for Saul of Tarsus. Shammai was the other school which believed in following the law and using violence if necessary against those who broke it. That was probably a major tension for Saul, whose story we will look at in a few weeks. Gamaliel took the view that if his group was right, the apostles were wrong—but but he also thought it was worth waiting to see if there was truth in what they were doing. If they were right, they would succeed. He thought the apostles would certainly fail.
The important thing is that the apostles were not teaching an idea. They were not sharing a philosophy. They were lifting up Jesus. When you lift up Jesus, nothing can stop that message for it is truth. The more you persecute those who teach it, the more it will grow. The more you ignore those who teach it, the more it will grow. It is not dependent on human control. Growth comes from an interaction between the Spirit and the heart.
Recalibrate: Where are you on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of being drawn in by the Spirit?
Respond: Pray for the truth to set you free.
Research: Read one of the suggested commentaries from the bibliography on this passage.
Go on a walk and talk with your child. Walk with your child around your home or your neighborhood talking with God about all that you see and feel. Take time to watch and listen to the wonderful things around you.
Has anyone ever asked you to be quiet when you wanted to say something really, really, really important? It’s hard to keep your mouth shut when you have something exciting to share! The Sadducees wanted to keep the apostles quiet when they were going to share about Jesus. They didn’t want to hear about Him. What is something really exciting about Jesus you can share today?
What you say with your words can be extremely powerful, but what you say with your silence can be just as strong. If the apostles would have kept quiet and talked about Jesus only amongst themselves, what do you think the world would look like now. What is something you are keeping quiet (something happy, painful, a question) about that you need to share this week?