Ain't No Stopping Us Now!
ACTS IN 90 DAYS
A reading for Tuesday, May 26, 2020: Acts 5:17-42.
"...if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!"
At this point in the book of Acts, the early apostles are in a full fledged conflict with the high priests of the Temple. They have been ordered not to teach about Jesus, and when they will not obey are imprisoned and later flogged as a punishment.
The Sadducees believe the best way to end all the talk about Jesus is to silence the followers of Jesus. They believe their power at the top of the religious hierarchy gives them the mandate they need to make all the decisions. We might hear the words of our parents... "Because we said so, that's why!"
But Gamaliel is wise and brings a voice of reason to the council. He reminds them that their power is still subject to God's authority, and if the Jesus movement is of God there is very little they can do to stop it.
That's the thing about power and hierarchy. There is always power higher than you. No matter who you are or how much power you believe you have, someone or something always has more. It might be someone with more political clout, or the one with more money, or maybe just simply the laws of nature that dictate what happens for us even when we have another idea. The richest most powerful person the world will ever know will still die in the end.
The good news for us in the story today, is that Gamaliel has a word of prophecy. The Jesus movement is of God and because of the power of the Almighty, it won't be stopped. Prison, floggings, and even death will not stop the good news of salvation in Jesus from spreading.
It still spreads today... even in the midst of a pandemic. Thanks be to God! Amen.