IN THEIR LANGUAGE
As you prepare to read Scripture today, thank God for those closest to you, and pray that you will be faithful to them.
Read Acts 21:37—22:5
37 As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?”
“Do you speak Greek?” he replied. 38 “Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the wilderness some time ago?”
39 Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.”
40 After receiving the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic: 22 1 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”
2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.
Then Paul said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5 as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectTensions in relationships can lead some to silence and others to aggression. How do you build a bridge to hostility?
In these verses, Paul faces one of the supreme challenges of his life. Once before, he had tried to preach to the Jews in Jerusalem, and he had barely escaped with his life (Acts 9:28–30). Now he stood before the ravening mob once again. How would he build a bridge? How would they listen to him? In a stroke of Spirit-inspired genius, Paul calmly raised his hand to silence the mob, and spoke to them in their own lan-guage: the Hebrew dialect. With genuine respect, he began: “Brothers and fathers, hear my defense…” and, on hearing Paul address them in their own language, silence reigned. God’s man had miraculously silenced the murderous mob… the stage was set… and thus the Holy Spirit was unleashed to “solemnly testify” through Paul his unique story of the trans-forming power of Jesus Christ in his own life.
Sometimes rather than zeal and boldness, we need patience to wait for God’s timing. What looks like zeal for God does not always come from the right heart (3). But God’s Spirit is with us, just as he was with Paul, and he desires to speak through us, even into the hardest relationship.
Think about the hardest relationship in your life at the moment. Have you tried responding to the person in God’s ways?
Ask God to create the right context in this relationship and give you words that will build a bridge for his love and grace