“Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing.”
It is hardly surprising that there are debates as to who Theudas actually was. Josephus writes of a Theudas but his character isn’t the one that Gamaliel mentions here. I don’t think it matters as Theudas still exists today.
The Theudas people always claim to be somebody:
Through the social media revolution we see every day all kinds of claims to be the next best thing. Someone needs to create new superlatives for the next Theudas is running out of words to trump the previous claim. The fact is Theudas is not as good as he/she is made out to be.
The Theudas people can gather but it doesn’t prove anything:
People are fickle. One week they are praising with palm branches the next week they are cursing and calling for death. People are fickle. They gather in the city and town squares to watch somebody juggle only because the crowd are gathered. Crowd gathering is relatively easy. Attracting people is an art and many have mastered it. But it doesn’t prove it is genuine.
When Theudas dies that is the test:
What is being built these days? If everything is about here and if everything is about now then it will naturally fizzle out. Great leaders create movements and use momentum, they begin small and multiply. Great leaders invest in the next generation. Great leaders are always thinking, planning, strategising and building so that when they are not there, they still are.
Jesus was not Theudas!