About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Gamaliel A Secret Believer?
of all, some of you may not know who Gamaliel was.
He is mentioned twice in the book of Acts.
From Acts 5:24 we learn that he was a Pharisee, a member of the
Sanhedrin, the ruling council of the Jews in Jerusalem. We also learn that he was a well respected rabbi.
This verse also tells us that he cautioned the Sanhedrin concerning
persecuting Christians. Just
in case the Christian movement was of God, you would not want to persecute
God. For this reason, some
suggest that Gamaliel might have been a Christian.
Acts 22:3 we learn that the Apostle Paul was "thoroughly
trained" in both Jewish law and tradition by Gamaliel.
Biblical literature tells us that Gamaliel was the grandson of one of the
most famous and well respected rabbis in Jewish history named Hillel.
Hillel was the founder of the most popular school of theology among
the Pharisees. In one sense of
the word, Hillel and his school of theology was liberal.
For example, the Hillel school of theology interpreted the divorce
laws of Deuteronomy 24:1 to 4 to mean that a man could divorce his wife
for any and every reason. It
was this theological position on divorce that Jesus confronted to be not
God's will in Matthew 19.
I've said, some people suggest that Gamaliel was a secret believer because
he cautioned those in the Sanhedrin not to go too hard on the Christians.
Hermeneutically speaking, and I know it's only a suggestion, that
is a pretty flimsy point to base an argument on.
would suggest that Gamaliel was not a secret Christian.
First of all, if he was, I would suggest that he would have told
Paul about his faith in Jesus and he would have tried to lead Paul to
Jesus. Paul was one of his
best students. There is no
evidence that Gamaliel did any such thing.
We know how Paul became a Christian.
It was by the direct and miraculous intervention of Jesus, not
I've said, extra Biblical historic literature tells us that Gameliel was
the grandson of Hillel, one of the most well respected rabbis in Jewish
history. I would assume, and I
do admit that it is an assumption, that he would have followed in his
grandfather's footsteps. For
this reason, and for the fact that he did not lead Paul to Jesus, I would
think Gamaliel was not a secret believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.