After Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles had been gathering and preaching the gospel in the temple. Through their preaching, God was greatly adding souls to the church. The high priest and leadership were displeased with this, and therefore put the apostles in prison. During the night, God sent an angel to free the apostles and to command them to go back to the temple and preach Jesus. When the leadership discovered the apostles preaching in the temple again, they peacefully brought the apostles back to the council, and reminded the apostles that they had been commanded not to preach Jesus, to which they replied, “We ought to obey God rather than man.” This infuriated the council who then discussed their options behind closed doors. Today’s scripture passage is the approach that was proposed by Gamaliel and agreed upon by the council.
With the hindsight of 2,000 years, we clearly see the outcome of this event. The apostles were not perpetuating the work of men; they were preaching the good news of the risen Christ, and by the Holy Spirit, people were coming to a saving relationship with God. The gospel is the work of God, and as Gamaliel said, it cannot be overthrown. Every Christian is going to face opposition when sharing Jesus with others, and in comparison with church history, the western church faces minimal push back. May we be emboldened to share the gospel and love of Christ, and may we be reminded and encouraged that the work is God’s and that He will prevail.