Monday, March 26, 2012

Acts 9:28-30

Summary retelling of Acts 9: 28-30:

Once Barnabas accepts and introduces Saul, Saul is allowed to go in and among the Christians.  He also begins debating with the Hellenist Jews.  (The word Hellen means Greek, so the Hellenists are Jews who are not from a Jewish heritage but rather a “Greek” or more accurately “worldly” heritage.)  As one might expect, as Saul opens his mouth to begin to debate what truth is, his opponents seek to kill him.  When the plot against his life is discovered, the Jerusalem Christians help him escape to Caesarea and Tarsus.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
Again we can see the power of Barnabas’ influence.  Barnabas is trusted, and once Barnabas extends his covering to Saul he is allowed to go in and out and debate.  Barnabas tends to be a forgotten person of the Bible, but without Barnabas’ willingness to put his neck on the line for what God is doing in Saul – there may have been no Paul.  And had there not been a Paul, well, chances are we’d all be Jewish-Christians living a much different life!  {Yes, I realize God could have used other people to bring about His agenda had Barnabas been unwilling.}  But this passage reminds us of the unsung heroes and the subtle people of faith who impact us more than we realize.

Who are your unsung heroes?

Second Thought:
Saul’s opponents seek to kill Saul.  This shouldn’t surprise us.  The story of the Bible is that those who bring God’s truth are simply unpopular.  In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) the people loathed the prophets because their messages were difficult to hear.  In the New Testament, the leaders in Jerusalem hated John the Baptizer and had him killed.  They hated Jesus and had him killed.  They hated Jesus’ disciples and eventually have all but one of them killed.  The world hates truth.  Truth points us to God and exposes our self-centeredness.  People hate that.  They want to focus on what makes them happy and what is fun and what “they want to do.”

Are you willing to be unpopular – or even hated – because of the Truth?

Third Thought:
Saul runs away and escapes with his life.  This is going to be a pattern in Acts once Saul really gets going in ministry.  I’m not saying that Saul is a chicken and can’t battle.  I’m actually saying that Saul is such a good battler that his opponents feel that the only way to win is to kill him.  He is quite an impressive figure in that he desires to speak the truth so much that he is willing to put his life on the line.  And God always provides a way out for him.

How much are you willing to trust God’s ability to protect you from harm?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 9: 31
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