Great, loving God, I pray for my church and all churches today that they may all truly follow Your will.
Read Acts 13:42-52
 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.  When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.  On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.  When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.  Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.  For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”  When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.  The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.  But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.  So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium.  And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. 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 were the reactions of the Jews and Gentiles different?
Paul and Barnabas encourage both Jews and Gentiles to grow in their faith in God (43), yet the opposition quickly gets itself organized (45,50). How often jealousy between different factions emerges within our churches! How destructive it can be! Luke records Paul’s explanation of why he is going to focus upon the Gentiles. He must have already clearly worked out his strategy and response. Yes, the Jews need to hear the Gospel, but then Isaiah’s prophecy is also to be fulfilled (Isa. 49:6). The “Servant” (who can be seen as Israel and then more fully as Christ himself) is to be a light that needs taking to the Gentiles (see Luke 2:32); Paul claims this role for himself and Barnabas and, more widely, for the church. This does not mean that he will never preach to Jews again (see 14:1), but his priorities have been refocused. Conflict or challenge can be painful but can also be the means of redirecting God’s people. Of course, a new direction must be based upon a deep knowledge of God, shaped by an understanding of God’s Word.
Pray for a ministry you know, that it will never be immobilized by fear or panic but first turn to God.
Lord Jesus, where there is conflict in Christian groups I’m involved in, help me to bring peace to them.