Saturday, August 27, 2005

Acts 28:17-31

In this last section of Acts, we find Paul in Rome, in chains, defending himself, but still spreading the Good News about Jesus. Speaking to the Jewish leaders, Paul tries to reason with them, using their own knowledge of the law of Moses and the words of the prophets to convince them that Jesus is the Messiah, that he rose from the dead. But, alas, "some were convinced by what he had said, while others refused to believe." (Acts 28:24)

Seemingly frustrated with the Jewish leaders who did not believe him, Paul recounts the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Go to this people and say, You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn -- and I would heal them." (Acts 28:26-27)

But neither frustration nor disappointment stopped Paul. He continued, even in chains, to enthusiastically and boldly talk about Jesus to all who would listen.

It is easy to enthusiastically talk about Jesus with members of our church family. It is easy to boldly talk about Jesus with others who bring up His name first. What is not so easy is ministering in a secular setting, praying in a restaurant in front of a co-worker, inviting a neighbor to church, being the first to bring up His name in conversation.

Sometimes, fearing ridicule or rejection, we hesitate to speak of Him, we refrain from speaking the name, "Jesus." If only we were more like Paul, letting God use us and not worrying about whether or not others will receive or reject God's message but, Like Paul, leaving that to God.

Dear God, please grant us the grace, like Paul, to spread the word about Jesus, to boldly talk about Him wherever we are, with anyone who will listen. Amen.

Martha Olson

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