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Monday, November 24, 2008

November 24: Acts 22

Here is what God is saying to me through this chapter:
Paul is giving his defense to zealous Jews who do not believe in Jesus. Paul is sharing the story of his conversion to and calling by Christ. These Jews seem to be attentive and willing to listen, that is until v. 21. Here Paul, a Jew like the crowd hearing his case, says that Jesus has called him to bring good news to the Gentiles (Non-Jews). The Jews “listened to him up to this statement” (v. 22) and then they wanted to kill him. These Jews didn’t necessarily hate Paul, but they did hate those who weren’t Jewish. Paul put his neck on the line by following Jesus’ call to go out and bring the good news of Christ’s love to the Gentiles.

Here is what I will do today because of what God is saying to me:
These passage challenges me in two ways. First, I wonder if I am sometimes like those Jews who hated Non-Jewish Gentiles. I’m challenged to consider if there is any person or group that I might try to keep good news from. Second, I’m challenged by Paul’s commitment to not draw lines in the sand when it comes to whom he can share the good news with. Would I risk my neck with the religious crowd in order to reach out to those far from Christ? Sometimes the religious crowd today can be as hostile as the Jews were in Paul’s day. I don’t mean for this to sound arrogant, but at this point in my journey I would rather offend religious people than to not reach out with Christ’s love to all people.

1 comment:

Brad said...

The crowd is with Paul for most of his speech. He speaks their language; he tells of his personal experiences persecuting Christians prior to his encounter with Jesus and of his conversion on his way to Damascus.

V. 17 "When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking.

v. 21"Then the Lord said to me, 'Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.' "

As soon as he mentions the Gentiles, the crowd turns against him and wants to kill him.

Verse 17 challenges me greatly. I want to practice deep prayer, where I get in touch with Jesus in a real way.

Also, I want to be a witness for Christ without fear.