Day 17: Word Waiting
Day 17: Word Waiting
Adapted from the Book of Acts Chapter 5. 29-42
Dear Lord, the religious authorities tried to silence Peter and the apostles by forbidding them to speak of You. However, Peter answered, “It’s necessary to obey God rather than men.” He insisted Your Holy Spirit sustained them.
The authorities became furious and wanted to kill them on the spot. But one of the council members stood up, a Pharisee by the name of Gamaliel, a teacher of God’s Law who was honored by everyone. He ordered the men taken out of the room for a short time, then said, “Fellow Israelites, be careful what you do to these men. Let them alone. If this program or this work is merely human, it will fall apart, but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it—and you better not be found fighting against God!”
Willimon advises us to be careful in our judgment. The religious authorities who wanted to kill Jesus allowed “their anger and official indignation” to be “their only sources of thought.” He points out that Luke’s gospel “has the apostles saved by the intervention of rabbi Gamaliel, one of the most widely known and revered rabbis of his day.” Gamaliel uses the argument “if this movement is human . . . it will collapse.” But, if it is of God, “who is foolish enough to try to stop the movements of God?”
Willimon wants us to know there is evidence that “some members of the academic and religious establishment,” like Gamaliel and Joseph of Arimathea, “make the effort to think” and to “wait and see.” Will we learn that “making the effort to think things through” and taking the time to “wait and see” have value? Or will we jump to conclusions when our emotions cloud our judgment? (Willimon Acts, 1998, p. 57)
Recap prayer: Dear Jesus, Help us through emotional responses that are inaccurate. Show us when human intelligence is hijacked by emotional indignation. Help us to understand and accept that your peace in us allows us to be more like Gamaliel in our judgments. Teach us to embrace Your way on earth as in heaven—so we can detach from emotional distortions that deceive and destroy. Amen.
prayers, it is deeply appreciated.