The Apostles were being persecuted by the Religious Leaders for preaching the Gospel Message. They had been brought before them to be condemned to death when a Teacher of the Law by the name of Gamaliel tried to talk some sense into them. In these verses you’ll find the word “if” twice. One word with two completely different meanings. “If it’s the work of men…” Here Gamaliel thought there was only a slight possibility that it was true and the Apostles were acting on their own. “But if it’s from God…” Here the if Gamaliel used meant he firmly believed it was from God and nothing the Religious Leaders did would stop it. That’s why he urged them to just walk away…for he knew they didn’t have the capacity or power to destroy a work of God.
So what exactly were the apostles doing that would land them in jail? It tells us that they were performing many miraculous signs and wonders…healing the sick and tormented…and that many were coming to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They were doing good stuff, but they were also persecuted for it. Contention within the Body can degenerate into negative emotions that desire to make war against the good they see others doing…simply because it’s not them performing it. They feel threatened, so they attempt to discount and belittle rather than praising God for what He’s doing. Doing good regardless…it tells us in I Peter 3:17 that we may have to suffer in doing good…and that we shouldn’t become weary in doing it. (Galatians 6:9) I pray we all may have the boldness to continue doing good no matter the cost.
Jesus is predicting His betrayal by Judas in quoting Psalm 41:9. In the span of three short years, Jesus fulfilled each prophecy that had been written about the coming Messiah. From His selection of the apostles…to knowing full well the impending treachery of Judas…Jesus carried out His plan and purpose wholly .