The Upside Down Kingdom
Lord Jesus, mercy and faithfulness have met in You, justice and peace have embraced. How very great You are.
Read Acts 9:32-43
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible” (Corrie Ten Boom). That’s the faith we receive when we grasp God’s Kingdom.
There is an abrupt change in Luke’s narrative at this point as it suddenly switches our attention back to the activity of the apostle Peter. We discover him traveling out of Jerusalem to Lydda and Joppa on the Mediterranean coast, visiting believers and bringing life and hope to the despairing. Luke and Theophilus, remember, were literate, privileged people who belonged to the elite segment of society. Here, however, Luke draws his readers’ attention to a group of weeping widows whose one source of support has been removed by death (39).
For Theophilus and his peers, this world was usually invisible. Not only was the reality of the world of the poor invisible, it was part of a social and economic system that was fixed and permanent. The Romans boasted that their domination of the ancient world had brought salvation to the nations, so that no alternative to their rule was possible. Yet here, Luke describes in moving detail the way in which the kingdom of God breaks open this closed world. He exposes the pathetic vulnerability of the weakest members of society and describes the manner in which Christ, the true Savior, defeats death and disease and opens up new social possibilities. Dorcas, a disciple of Jesus in Joppa, “was always doing good and helping the poor” (36).
As an evangelist to the elite, Luke leaves Theophilus–and those of us who are among the economically privileged in the twenty-first century–in no doubt about what following Christ will mean. The healing of Aeneas and the raising of Dorcas are deeds of compassion heralding a new age in which “reality is not based upon rigid logic or cause-effect circumstances but upon God’s promise” (William Willimon).
Do you tend to view the world as governed by unchallengeable causes, or is it open to God’s promises? Ask God for faith that those promises will be realized.
Sovereign Lord, I am aware that the kingdoms of this world constantly press in on me. Yet, I long above all else to seek first Your Kingdom.
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