*Apologies for this being posted so late. I spent all afternoon at Pep Boys waiting for my car to be fixed 🙂 *
Saturday Bible Study Week #2: Acts 4-6
Three chapters isn’t a lot when it’s spread out over a week, but it’s a lot to cover in one day and in one blog entry. So I will sum up all three chapters in the words I once heard Bart Tarman say. “If you want to follow a tame Jesus, you’re gonna have to make him up.” In these chapters, we see what happens after the Holy Spirit is let loose for the first time and the response is mind-blowing. Believers healing and boldly preaching, living communally and suffering willingly… check this verse, for example:
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. –Acts 5:41.
Dang. These days we do more complaining than rejoicing when it comes to suffering.
But that’s not the part I love the most. This is one of my favorite parts.
Acts 5:29-39. Gamaliel.
Here’s a brief summary, and know that when I recap things I tend to be real casual about it.
The apostles are told not to speak in the name of Jesus, but of course they did and wound up in jail. Then an angel comes in the night and jailbreaks them and tells them to go back into the temple, so they do because when an angel breaks you out of jail you do what the angel says. The next morning the Sanhedrin calls for the apostles, but they’re not in jail because they’re preaching in the temple, duh. The Sanhedrin is aaaaangry and wants to put them to death. Then comes a Pharisee named Gamaliel.
We tend to not like Pharisees very much and usually they’re just referred to as “a Pharisee” or a generic one of many, but Gamaliel gets a name and he’s probably my favorite Pharisee because he seems to be pretty wise. I guess God can use anyone, right? There’s hope for all of us.
Gamaliel recaps some history to the Sanhedrin. Remember Theudas, or Judas the Galilean? You killed them because you were worried about their power, and that settled things down. If these guys are just making this up and flapping their lips to make a breeze, it will settle down on its own. But if on the off chance this is actually a God thing, then you are trying to fight God.
So they were persuaded and just beat the apostles.
Anyway. In my Holy Bible, the Bible that holds all of my notes and is falling apart and has been cried over, hugged, used as a pillow, traveled to the other side of the world and back… in that Bible, I wrote a note in my margin and it’s squiggled under like a typo or incorrect grammatical sentence in Word and that note says “Still here, Gamaliel!”
We are the apostles. We have the Holy Spirit living in us and dwelling in us, pushing us towards the Lord and enabling us to do bold things in his name.
If this whole faith thing is actually a God thing, then it’s going to go on with or without us because it’s not something that some really charismatic guy thought up and convinced us to believe, like the cults that get people to commit suicide when a comet comes by. Those things die out. This faith life we are a part of is something else. It is supernatural: cosmic: creative: passionate: eternal.
I have “don’t-want-to-miss-a-thing” syndrome. I love to be the last asleep and the first awake, because I want to be a part of everything. If someone goes to the gym, I want to ride with them. If they go to the store, I want to come along. I don’t even care if I have a purpose or reason, but I don’t want to be left behind.
We need to have “don’t-want-to-miss-a-thing” syndrome in our faith. Even if things go on without us, even if this story of faith will continue without us, we need to be right in the middle of it and that’s going to look different for each of us. The apostles and the stories we’ve been left with from this book, Acts, give us a great example of people with DWTMAT Faith with their constant sharing of the gospel and living humbly in community and their praying together and eating together and calling on the Holy Spirit for more than just miraculous acts, but also boldness and wisdom and discernment.
I read Acts and wonder how we got so far from this life; this fresh life lived with the Holy Spirit. Now we drive to churches where we sing nice songs and give our tithes and shake hands with strangers and gossip about the ones we know. We look down on other believers and hold tightly to our possessions and read Scripture to acquire information, not transformation.
The Holy Spirit empowers us, like the early church, to be different than this formulaic, safe Christianity. If what Bart Tarman said was true about Jesus, then it should be true about us.
If you want to find a tame Christian, you’re gonna have to make it up.
Let’s get Holy Spirit wild up in this place.
*Also, while looking for a picture to go with this I stumbled upon the best website, EVER: The Brick Testament. It’s the Bible with lego illustrations! *
** Leave your responses in this entry and/or leave a comment with a link to your blog response, and I will add it to this entry. **