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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Hidden Heroes: Gamaliel

My next hidden hero is a wise man named Gamaliel. His character comes on the scene in Acts 5. 

Who was Gamaliel? He was the head of the Sanhedrin, which was the Jewish Council of 70 people who ruled over all affairs of Judaism.

As the early church was gaining traction, antipathy and anger exacerbated against the early church. In Acts 5:27, the apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin to be questioned. The Sanhedrin ordered them not to teach in Jesus’s name. This was the moment when Peter boldly responded, “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29).

When the Jewish leaders heard Peter’s response, they were furious and ready to kill them. The fellow Sanhedrin went to Gamaliel and asked what they should do. Intensify the persecution? Kill all the Christians?

In Acts 5:34, Gamaliel stood up and spoke up courageously and pointedly, which is why he is one of my hidden heroes. He first asked that the apostles be put outside for a bit. He proceeds to say, “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 yourself fighting against God” (Acts 5:38).

Gamaliel gave wise advice that is timeless and still applies to situations today. If something is from the Lord, it will succeed. If not, it will fail. Period.

There’s no evidence in the Bible that Gamaliel was even a Christian when he spoke up. But he certainly had wise advice. God’s sovereignty reigns in all situations. He will do as he wishes with or without our consent.

Finally, the warning in this story is clear. If you are lifting your hand against something that is of the Lord, be careful because if they are leading something that is from the Lord, it will succeed regardless!

But always follow Gamaliel’s wise advice: Let God be God!

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