Our first reading today is filled with kind of intense drama. The disciples, ever since Jesus rose from the dead and sent them the gift of the Holy Spirit, have been going around and preaching in the name of Jesus. This is obviously attracting the attention of the religious leaders, and they’re not too happy about it. It bothers them that the crucifixion of Jesus wasn’t the end of the story. The news that he rose from the dead is something they are trying to cover up, and they don’t want anyone to know about it.
So they take counsel together, and intend to deal with the disciples so that they will stop preaching. But there’s a little interesting plot twist. The official Gamaliel is trying to keep a balance between wanting to silence the disciples and not wanting to anger the people who are hearing them. So he convinces the other officials to let the whole thing play out. He reasons that if this isn’t of God, which he obviously things is the case, well, then, it will all die out on its own. But if it is of God, he cautions the others that they don’t want to get in the way of that. Now Gamaliel is obviously trying to brush the disciples off and cover his bets in case this doesn’t go well, but in doing that, he’s actually being king of prophetic. We know that the preaching of the disciples was certainly something that came from God, and we know how it worked out. After all, we’re here talking about their preaching today.
But the courage of the apostles is inspiring, isn’t it? They have been warned twice, and put in prison, and now beaten, and still we are told that “all day long, both at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.” Thank God for that! We are grateful for their new-found courage today, or we wouldn’t be here worshipping right now.
We are called to display that same courage and to speak non-stop of our Lord Jesus Christ in all that we say and do. The psalmist today reminds us that the only thing worth seeking is to dwell in the house of the Lord, and the only way to do that is to follow our Risen Lord. So when you’re making a decision about what you’re going to say to someone who may be annoying you, or what you’re going to do in a difficult situation, stop and think about how you can proclaim the Christ, Jesus, in what you say and do. God built a Church and is filling heaven because of the preaching of the disciples. He can do a lot with our own proclaiming the Word in what we say and do, too.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!