Saul who became Paul had just been through the Damascus road experience and his life had been turned on its head in an instant. The Lord Jesus appeared to him in a bright light and spoke to him showing how he was hurting himself by continuing to oppose The Lord.
Paul at this point in time had been led by the hand into Damascus for he had been blinded on the road when The Lord appeared to him. The Lord was preparing him in all of this. He had to stop and think and reassess his life to that point, recognising that it was all wrong and to be prepared for a new way.
And there wasn’t much he could do apart from pray and seek The Lord. He had just been made blind and could not go out and about. He could not continue on his path of terrorising the early church. He could not even work at his trade as a tent maker without his sight. All he could do was pray and seek The Lord to understand, “What next!” And in that we see The Lord left him for three days to ponder before coming to him in these scriptures to answer his questions.
As humans we frequently generalize about all kinds of things. We make broad sweeping statements and too often it is wrong to do so. Paul pointed this out in the Bible when writing to Titus in Titus 1:12 saying,
One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”
Were all people from Crete lazy, gluttons and liars? Of course not! But in such a generalization the whole race and population of Crete were damned in one fell swoop. And to do so is wrong, as we see here in this section of Acts 5.
Why do I say this? Because people have a tendency to damn the religious leaders of the Jews in the days of Christ and the Apostles calling them all to account. I know this because I do it myself and am as bad an example as anyone, so please forgive my errors as you read this post.
Because what we see in this section of scripture is that there were men who were leaders in the religious orders of the Pharisees who were indeed good and wise men. They were respected and held in high honour by all of the people and in this example we see the reason why for Gamaliel was a man of great wisdom. Continue reading “Wisdom of Gamaliel”
These scriptures hold a few interesting teachings that bear thinking about. They firstly show the nature of man and the opposition that those who follow Jesus will receive. Then they go on to identify what it is that causes the people of the world to oppose the words of The Lord.
We see here the humanity of man at it’s worst. How one group stand against the other and the motivations that drive them to do evil when it is apparent and obvious to all that they are in the wrong. The passions of human nature are not of God and it is those that we must conquer, not through our own strength, wisdom or power, but through the power of the Holy Spirit if we are to stand in the presence of God.
And then we see what it is and why it is that these negative human passions sway men to do evil. In a word, it is jealousy. And they were jealous because the disciples had something that the priests did not have. They had the words of This Life.
This one verse today is very interesting and one we should consider carefully today. It goes to the heart of ministry and who is capable of teaching the word of Jesus. Let’s first have a quick look at the verse itself.
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”
Peter and John had just performed a miraculous healing where they had healed a crippled man through the power of the name of Jesus. The leaders of the Jews were most unhappy about this and the fact that they then preached the gospel of Jesus Christ in the temple to the many thousands who had gathered together.
But in this verse it is the perceptions of the leaders and priests of the Jews that is interesting and it shows us a great deal.
After being judged by Pilate Jesus was handed over to the Jews with a company of soldiers and led away to be put to death. He was loaded up with the beam to which He would be nailed and which he had to cart or drag to the place He would die. To the Place of the Skull or Golgotha.
But there are questions about His method of death which need to be considered.
There is no doubt that Jesus was nailed to the beam of wood that He carried, and this was to be a death most painful and violent. But we cannot know for certain that Jesus died on a cross. So let us consider this question and try to gain some insight from the scriptures.
Jesus speaks in this section about the Spirit of truth who He sends and who will come to the disciples. The Spirit of truth is the same Counselor Jesus speaks of in earlier sections of this chapter and it is the Holy Spirit that He will send as a gift to man after He dies and ascends to the Father.
This section of scripture is one that gives us some more insight into the role and purpose of the Holy Spirit. It explains more of the reasons why it is important to receive the Holy Spirit and why this gift is so essential in our walk with Jesus Christ.
There is a principle here that we can learn that will help us understand just how far we can go in our walk with Jesus Christ. There is also a warning and a reminder of what to expect as we walk with Christ in these verses.
We see also that Jesus made us a promise here too, for those who teach and preach the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These few verses speak volumes about who we are and where we are as followers of Jesus Christ. And also what we can expect as we continue to walk with Him.
Have you ever met a person who was just brilliant at something and yet they had never had any training? They may be a good builder, musician, sportsperson or academically brilliant but they have never had a lesson on that topic in their life? You do come across such people and it makes you wonder how it is that they are gifted with such knowledge, skills or abilities. Well, Jesus had similar experiences.
The Jewish leaders questioned Jesus over the things He taught and were amazed at the knowledge He had saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” (Verse 15) Jesus went on to answer this question, but it raises some interesting other points for us today.
School days! For some it brings back good memories and for others they were the worst days of their life. But education is important because we need to learn to grow. And often it was the system that got in the way, as even Albert Einstein said, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” He is also quoted as saying, “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
The system though can be improved dramatically by the quality and attention given by the teacher. The value of a great teacher cannot ever be underestimated as many can testify that they became the person they are from the instruction and example of a great teacher. In this scripture today we see the value of the greatest teacher of all…God.