“So now I tell you,
have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin,
it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39a)
Gamaliel was a very intelligent person. In today’s passage from the Acts of the Apostles, Gamaliel warned those who wanted to inflict harm upon the Apostles to think about what it was they were going to do. He reminded them of other so-called prophets who had come on the scene throughout their history. These people gathered a following around them. However, when they were no longer around, their followers quickly disbanded.
Thus, Gamaliel was saying, the people should treat the Apostles in the same manner. After all, they were followers of a man called Jesus. Jesus was crucified and died upon the cross. Yes, there were “rumors” of His resurrection. Those rumors were not believed by everybody, though. Many of the Israelites believed that the resurrection was nothing but a hoax.
Given that, Gamaliel counseled patience. Why do anything to the Apostles? After all, if Jesus was nothing more than a man and He was dead and gone, His followers would soon drift away and the “threat” would be over. If, however, Jesus was divine and He had risen, His followers would be on a divine mission. Nothing is worse in life than pitting oneself against God. With that counsel, the Apostles were freed and they began to preach the Good News once again.
Which brings us to the question that we need to ask ourselves this day: To whom do we pledge our support? Do we gather around a human? Is there someone in this world to whom we have pledged allegiance? We know how tenuous those relationships can be.
Do we pledge our support and allegiance to the Lord? If so, He will be with us now and forever. Nothing — no one — should be more important than God.
We may “believe” in other people. There is nothing wrong with that. Their causes may resonate with our own dreams and hopes. However, if we place anyone as more important than the Lord, we find ourselves in trouble.
FAITH ACTION: Think about the people in your lives and their causes which you support. Ask yourself how much weight you give to what they say and do. Do you give them more credence than you do the Lord? If so, reprioritize your life.