Saturday after Reminiscere Sunday
Posted on March 11, 2023 byunder
Scripture: Acts 5:34-42 (NKJV)
5:34 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”
40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
When Jesus had risen from the dead He commissioned the Pastoral Office to make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching. He promised to be present in their administrations (Matt. 28:19-20). He promised them, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This Christian movement was definitely not the plan or work of men. Even Jesus said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:7).
Gamaliel the Pharisee was not a clandestine Christian seeking to release the apostles because he supported their work. Instead, like Pontius Pilate, he feared angering the people, who “glorified God for what had been done” (Acts 4:21). Rather than be held responsible for rashly killing these men, he advised a lighter approach. “Just leave them alone and it will all amount to nothing.” Because of his ignorance of the Word of God, unbelieving Gamaliel does not realize that “it is of God, you cannot overthrow it.” Jesus said of His Church, “…and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). The success of Christ’s Church does not depend upon man’s strength, but upon God’s gracious will.
Prayer: O God, who seest that of ourselves we have no strength: Keep us both outwardly and inwardly; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Collect for the Season of Lent
Almighty and Everlasting God, Who hatest nothing that Thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of Thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.