When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered the men to be taken outside for a little while. He said to them, “Men of Israel, be careful about what you’re going to do to these men…” Acts 5:33-35 HCSB
The Pharisees were the major party in the Jewish high council. They were the strict keepers of the law of Moses. They had added hundreds more rules to the Ten commandments as a way of interpreting the Ten commandments. Their concern was with outward purity rather than making sure their hearts were right with God.
Gamaliel was a respected leader in the community. Certainly he did not support the teaching of Peter and the apostles, but he become an unexpected ally for the apostles that day. His desire was not to save the lives of apostles but rather to keep peace and prevent a riot that could bring the attention of the Roman government. The apostles were very popular among the people and killing them may have initiated a riot. Ironically Paul, one of the greatest apostles, was a student of Gamaliel.
Challenge: Just like the people had to be careful what they did with Peter and the Apostles, we must be careful what we do with people who boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must live our lives in a way that would be pleasing to and bring honor to God.