May 30, 2018

“If It Is From God”

Acts 5:17-42

But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.

—  Acts 5:39

The church faced trouble from within and without. As it grew in numbers and in ministry, there was jealousy from the religious rulers and teachers. It was hard to ignore what was happening, especially when the apostles were jailed one day and then they were found outside prison the next day, telling more people about new life in Jesus.

The guards checked all the doors and locks. They had no idea how the prisoners escaped. But the apostles knew they were released by an angel of the Lord and told to share the story of Jesus in the temple courts.

At the news that the apostles were still pointing people to Jesus, the religious leaders did not pause to reflect on the wonder of this release from prison. They did not want to understand what was happening. Instead, they were furious and wanted to kill the followers of Jesus.

Then a well-respected leader named Gamaliel stood up and spoke some words of caution and wisdom. There had been other groups that attracted a following, but over time, none of them amounted to anything. Gamaliel could see that if this new movement had no real foundation, it would fail. But if it came from God, there was no point in trying to fight God.

Gamaliel’s argument has prevailed. Today, 2,000 years later, it’s clear that the church is from God!

Dear God, we pray for the church everywhere. Dear Jesus, continue to build your church, day after day, and may we find our part in its story. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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