Acts 5:35

Acts in Mocha.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. Acts 5:35

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse introduced Gamaliel who stood up and commanded that the apostles be put outside for a little while. With them removed from the council, Luke continues describing what occurred, next noting, “And he said to them.”

It is Gamaliel who had requested removal of the apostles, and it is now he who addresses the council, beginning with, “Men of Israel.” They are words of familiarity addressed to those on a similar standing within the council. This is unlike when Peter addressed this same council in Acts 4. There, his words carefully acknowledged their position within the society –

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel.’” Acts 4:8

What is more important in considering Peter’s address is that he was speaking as a person who was fully aware of the work of Jesus Christ. In addressing the council, he was addressing the body responsible for the direction of Israel. The choices they made would affect the entire nation.

Gamaliel’s words are on the same societal level as the others in the council, and he seems fully aware of this by his coming words to them, especially what he will say in verse 39. As a member of the body, he has the potential to direct them in a way that the apostles did not. But if the leadership of Israel ultimately fails to heed the sound advice of even one of their own, it will only increase their guilt in the matter of who Jesus is.

For now, his words continue with, “take heed to yourselves.” It is a phrase that was used by Jesus. There is the implication that careful thought should be given to a matter before any decision is hurriedly rendered.

One might say, “Guard yourselves concerning this.” It is as if there is a looming danger if the advice is not taken. The word is used by Paul in the Pastoral epistles concerning doctrinal matters. With this understood, that thing which Gamaliel warns of is concerning their actions toward the apostles. He warns the council to beware of “what you intend to do regarding these men.”

Although it is not yet known what is on his mind, Gamaliel has a definite concern that cannot be ignored. Whatever decision that will be rendered, his advice needs to be considered. This is surely based on his seeing their conduct after hearing the words of Peter and the others. Luke had noted that they were furious and plotted to kill the apostles.

Gamaliel smells potential trouble brewing, and he wants to avoid that. Being one who knew the Scriptures, he was fully aware that God’s plans cannot be thwarted. His words will use this knowledge in an attempt to keep things running smoothly and to keep anyone from actually harming themselves.

Life application: Gamaliel’s advice is based on a life of reading, contemplating, and studying Scripture. The only way he could make a reasoned decision in relation to what Scripture says is to…. (Yes, you, in the corner over there! Yes! That is correct!) … It is to know what the word says.

And the only way you can do that is by reading the word. People all over the world make well thought out decisions all the time, and it is based on their knowledge of whatever subject they are dealing with. Be well versed in the words of the Bible if you want to make right decisions that are intimately linked to your faith. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Read your Bible.

How great are You, O God. You are beyond our understanding, and yet, You have told us about Yourself and what You expect of us in Your word. Where are our priorities? If they are directed toward You, we will be responsible by studying and knowing that source of knowledge, reading it all the days of our lives. Help us to do this, O God. Amen.