This Side of Eternity

33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But 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. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 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. 37 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. 38 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. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Acts 5:33-40

I’ve written this before in a different context, but always remember that God can use unbelievers in any way He chooses at any time. The Lord used evil rulers in the Old Testament to carry out His justice on Israel many times.

In this scenario Gamaliel persuaded some very angry religious leaders not to do what they had chosen in their hearts to do. Why were they so angry? Was it just because their egos had been bruised and the Disciples were making a mockery of them? Did they not see the absurdity of them being so enraged that they couldn’t think clearly?

How and why God uses certain people to accomplish His goals remains a mystery to us all. We only get a tiny glimpse into His justice and mercy. We never get to see his inner workings, the Big Picture plan for our lives. We know a bit about heaven and salvation and eternity, but that’s it.

That’s all we need to know on this side of eternity.

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