Thursday, April 26, 2012

Acts 13:26-31

Summary retelling of Acts 13:26-31

Having gone through the history of the Hebrew people, Paul now focuses on Jesus.  Paul talks about how the leaders in Jerusalem did not recognize nor understand Jesus because they did not understand the words of the prophets.  Paul tells the people how they killed Jesus in spite of not being able to find him guilty of anything.  We then hear about Jesus being laid in a tomb as well as His resurrection.  Finally we hear about Jesus’ appearance to many after being raised.  Paul tells the people of Psidian Antioch that these people are now the ones who are testifying to the truth about Jesus.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
It might be really easy for us to think that Paul is picking on the Jewish leaders in this passage.  However, remember that for most of his younger years Paul was a Pharisee.  He was one of those people who persecuted Christians.  He was one of the guys who didn’t understand!  Paul knows what it is like to be completely in the wrong and to have to change his mind about everything.  Paul has every right to talk about the Jewish leaders because he was one of them for a time in his life!

How do our past mistakes often help bring an air of realism to our proclamation – especially our proclamation about repentance and needing forgiveness?

Second Thought:
Imagine yourself going to church one day when a person stands up and tries to talk about how much Lutheranism has gotten wrong.  Or for anyone who is reading and not Lutheran, insert your own denomination (or non-denomination).  Imagine how you would initially react to someone coming in with that message.  Now multiply that reaction throughout the whole congregation that has gathered.  Now imagine how much potential irritation and anger would be initially focused upon the speaker by the congregation.  Now think about the speaker and the courage that would be needed to bring such a message in the first place.

My point in the entire paragraph above assumes that the speaker’s message is actually true, by the way.  If the speaker isn’t speaking truth, then it isn’t courage but evil that would inspire the speaker bringing the message.  But let’s be honest, no denomination has absolutely gotten the perfect interpretation of Christ’s church.  We all have room to grow.  So this scenario is possible.  It is worth considering how much courage it would take for a person to come into our midst and proclaim our need to change.

Do you have the same amount of courage that Paul needed to be able to speak truth in this story?  What might keep you from having that courage?   

Third Thought:
We hear Paul talk about the people who saw Jesus after he died.  They are the ones out testifying to His life.  All of these people who saw Jesus after He had died felt the need to go out and tell other people about what had happened – regardless of how impossible it seemed.

Why is personal testimony so important to the understanding and faith of other people?  Why is it important that you be able to talk to other people about what Jesus is doing in your life?  Think about a few people who have the ability to share their relationship with God with you.  Why is that so important to you?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 13:32-39
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