Have you gone up against the Heavies?
So, these three heavies … corrupt politicians … walk up to two guys, surround them with their henchmen, take them downtown to the station, throw them into the slammer for the night. Next morning, the two guys are brought in front of the heavies with the judge:
“WHAT … in the heck are you guys thinking? Going out in the city, talking to people about this Jesus guy? Everything that goes along with it? UNACCEPTABLE! You know who’s in charge: us.” (Pause)
(Another heavy speaks) “By what power or what name did you do this?”
(Peter, an apostle, speaks) “Okay. Here’s the deal. I’m Pete. This is John. We aren’t here to start any trouble. And, yeah, I get it that you guys are the ones who are in charge, at least to a very limited degree.”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them:
“Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected which has become the cornerstone.’ … “
And if I was there, I would have said this:
“So, how about them apples?”
In a different conflict,some of these guys talking about Jesus were seized, brought before the heavies, the Sanhedrin. Once again, these power people were confused about what to do.
“A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: ‘Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 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: 34-39)
The first time I read this passage, I was curious. Who is this Gamaliel?
He was ” … a leading authority in the Sanhedrin in the early 1st century … In the Christian tradition, Gamaliel is celebrated as a Pharisee doctor of Jewish Law. The Acts of the Apostles chapter 5speaks of Gamaliel as a man of great respect who spoke in favor of the arrested apostles of Jesus in Acts 5:34, and the Jewish law teacher of Paul the Apostle‘
Quite an adventure, here. These guys went up against the heavies; they stuck to their guns, to use an odd expression. And, good things happened. These guys had no idea that there would be someone sitting with the Sanhedrin … someone who would speak in favor of them. Life definitely can be strange.