“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.”
Acts 5:38-39 NIV
We don’t hear a whole lot about Gamaliel in scripture. But to understand his role and stature, we have to backup and understand Saul’s as well.
When it came to Jewish law, Saul was the man. He was the guy. A descendant of the tribe of Benjamin, 100% Israelite…a Pharisee. He had the top pedigree in Jewish knowledge and law, and to top it all off, he studied under one of the greatest teachers in the world, Gamaliel.
With Saul basically at the top of the Jewish faith, Gamaliel, being his teacher and one of the greatest and most recognized figureheads in Judaism, was even more widely respected.
In Acts, we see the apostles brought before the Jewish council for preaching about Christ. When asked to cease and replied that they would not, the council became angry and wished to put them to death. It is at this time Gamaliel steps in and advises them otherwise. We see that in the scripture cited above. Despite all his training and knowledge, he understands the power of God. And knows that if their teachings of Jesus were true, they’d be delivered by God, and if that was the case, the council need not resist, for their efforts would be futile. They respect his opinion and allow them to go.
What can we learn from Gamaliel? A few things…
-We must never think ourselves so wise that we turn from the power of God.
-Remember that a life lived reliant solely on things of human origin, is sure to fail.
-A life lived in the direction of God, cannot be kept from success and salvation.
-God can use EVERYONE.
Despite tribulations and challenges, God’s path is the only one that is sure to reach true salvation. Never fool yourself in thinking that you will do anything but fail, relying only on worldly things. Lastly, you absolutely can be used to expand the kingdom of God. If He can use a leader of a faith that openly rebukes His only son, our savior, then He can use you.