Saturday, April 21, 2012

Acts 12:20-25

Summary retelling of Acts 12:20-25

Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon (Region northwest of Jerusalem, along the Mediterranean coast).  Herod started pulling some strings and started to find ways to reroute trade so that Tyre and Sidon would feel Herod’s power.  They sued for peace, because in the end they needed to rely upon trade for food.  Herod came before the people and began to give a pompous speech before them.  They people begin declaring that they are hearing the voice of a god, and Herod died immediately because he didn’t give God the glory and took the praise for himself.  In spite of Herod, the Word of God spread.  Barnabas and Saul journey from Jerusalem having brought the offering for the people suffering under the famine.  When they leave, they take John Mark with them. 

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
In this passage we see a huge difference between the people of God and the world.  When the people in Antioch hear about the widows and the poor in Jerusalem who are going to starve, they send Barnabas and Saul with help.  When Herod hears of the need for food in Tyre and Sidon, he uses it as a tool to drive the people under his thumb.  The world uses our weakness to gain leverage over us.  The people of God help others out of their weakness.

In what ways have you acted more like the world that a person of God lately?  In what ways have you been successful in acting like a person of God should?

Second Thought:
Herod dies for a simple reason: he is more interested in his own glory than glorifying God.  That’s really self-centered.  In fact, one could say that this is the reason that all of us will die. Is this not a great definition of sin?  Sin is caring more about what I want than what is righteous and true.  The Bible tells us that we will all die because of our sinfulness.  Sure, we may not die as dramatically as Herod did.  But rest assured, our sinfulness will be the end of us all in this life.

Does this perspective make those “little white sins” any more menacing?  If even the little white sin is an act of self-mongerism, then is any sin little or white?

Third Thought:
Barnabas and Saul take John Mark.  They pick up a … wait for it … a disciple!  They bring along John Mark to teach him the ways of faith.  This is the discipleship process at work.  Yes, at times people may have turned to the church in droves.  But discipleship is done one person at a time.  Discipleship is simply inviting people to walk through life with you for a while.

Does this perspective on discipleship help you think about what discipleship is?  How does this image help differentiate between discipleship and evangelism?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 13:1-3
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