Gracious Father, continue to teach me from Your Word and deepen my commitment to know You and share You.
Read Acts 13:26-52
 “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.'”  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 Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow did the disciples react to their persecution?
I love Paul’s courage; he shares boldly without holding anything back. Can you imagine saying to those who believe they are children of God by birth that they might be wrong (38-41) or telling people that, because of their response, God will go to those they look down on, instead (46)? Paul did not sugar-coat the Gospel. He shares openly that forgiveness to put us right with God is available through Christ’s death and resurrection (37-39). He proclaims that through God’s sovereignty people are saved (48). And he walks with the joy of the Holy Spirit through the rejection and persecution that follows. As you read this, does it make you uncomfortable? How often do we do the opposite? We sit in silence or we share with such embarrassment that our friends fail to glimpse God’s incredible goodness in enabling us sinners to be forgiven and to discover the adventure of following him, at whatever the cost!
Imagine someone said to you, “If I wanted to know God, what would I do?” Spend time thinking about your response.
Lord Jesus, I want to know You and know Your Good News well enough to be able to share You with others.
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