Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your great love that extends to all that You’ve created, including me!
Read Acts 13:13-41
 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.  From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down.  After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”  Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!  The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country;  for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness;  and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance.  All this took about 450 years. “After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.  Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years.  After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’  “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.  Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.  As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’  “Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.  The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.  Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed.  When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb.  But God raised him from the dead,  and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.  “We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors  he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: “‘You are my son; today I have become your father.’  God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’  So it is also stated elsewhere: “‘You will not let your holy one see decay.’  “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.  But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.  “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.  Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:  “‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.'” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow did Paul clearly challenge his listeners at the end?
Just as Luke records the first public preaching of Jesus (Luke 4) and Peter (Acts 2), here he presents what is probably a shortened version of Paul’s first major sermon, as he preached (mainly to Jews) in Pisidian Antioch, the Roman colony covering the southern half of Galatia. Paul begins with the history of God’s people (17-22), which is familiar territory and which his hearers can agree with. He quotes familiar scriptures (22; 1 Sam. 13:14; Psalm 89:20). He then introduces new subject matter referring to the promised yet greater successor to David (23), and suddenly Jesus takes the center stage. Notice what Paul says about him (27-37). Jesus fulfills God’s promise and is key to Israel’s future. The challenge to respond comes in vs. 38-41. At this point the audience remains unthreatened! What topics of conversation can you explore to tell someone about Jesus? The structure of Paul’s sermon is brilliant, but his bridge into the lives of his audience is unlikely to connect with people you know! How can you talk about Jesus in a way that makes sense to your friends, colleagues or family?
Talk about this with another Christian. Pray that you’ll become better able to build bridges for Jesus into people’s lives.
Lord, help me know how best to connect with the people I talk to so that You can connect with them, too.