The Stuff We're Made Of

Acts 5: 38-39
And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
Gamaliel, who spoke these words, was part of a council which had just been blasted by the preacher Peter, who said, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree… and we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”

When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took council to slay them. Standing before them was a man who had been with Jesus Christ - a close disciple at that. He had been with him from the beginning and had taken part in His ministry and had seen the miracles He accomplished; heard His preaching and teaching and walked with Him on the water. He had learned from the Lord at an exponential rate. He was given the opportunity to preach repentance as Jesus did; heal the sick as Jesus and cast out devils just like Jesus (Mark 6: 12-13).

Sure, he had his moments of failure - even bitter defeat. But through it all, God made him. Not only him, but all those who turned to the Lord with a whole heart. Peter witnessed the Risen Savior and stood and watched as He ascended to Heaven. He obeyed Jesus’ command to tarry at Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Ghost. The result? The Baptism of the Holy Ghost and the immediate preaching of a message that produced effective results in three thousand souls. That was just the beginning.

So this Peter stood before the High Priest of a now defunct religion and its council. Filled with the Holy Ghost, he preaches THEM a message too. And wouldn’t you know it? They got hit with the same forceful conviction of the Holy Ghost they did when Jesus preached at them. They didn’t realize that killing the one man they murderously hated would produce 12 more preachers of the same spirit. Sadly, they refused the Spirit of God again at Peter’s message too. They reacted exactly the same; not just content to say no, but they were filled with the desire to kill this man too. He preached like Jesus, he acted like Jesus and God moved with him just like Jesus!

Seeing the reaction, the only seemingly receptive one of the bunch arose to quell the others. Gamaliel was no ordinary member of the council. He was a doctor of the law with the reputation of wisdom. He put forth a reminder to them of Theudas and Judas - two men who before had risen as cultic leaders of sorts. Hundreds of people had followed them, yet both were killed and the masses were scattered and brought to nought.

But he saw in these disciples something different. He knew in his heart these men preached a message that actually did something in people’s hearts and souls. He saw God in their lives: words and actions. Their leader was ‘dead’ and they were not only still living for him, but they were stronger in their convictions and willing to be killed for the cause. He saw the stuff they were made of, and it was godly and righteous.

Christian: How often do you consider that YOU are made of the same stuff? Peter continued right where Jesus left off. In fact, Peter’s shadow was a tool of God’s healing. You don’t read that about Jesus. So Peter did things we don’t read of Jesus’ doing. This was His plan all along: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14: 12)

Remember, the Bible was written to the believer. So the words of Jesus weren’t just directed at Peter and the other disciples. Jesus says them to you today. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Written by my husband