Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Acts 18:12-28

Daily Devotional – Tuesday Sept. 25, 2006
Acts 18:1-18

Lord, bless me with understanding and clarity. Open me to your message and love.

We continue our journey with Paul as he seeks to spread the Good News to all who will listen. He understandably is making enemies in the process. My ageing Father (91 yrs) has a favorite saying that “he who changes his mind against his will, is of the same opinion still” – at least I think that’s how it goes. Paul is trying to change people’s minds. Why is he doing that? Why has he committed his whole life and being to that cause? I believe it is because he believes the Good News. He is so convinced in the reality of The Risen Jesus that he MUST bring this reality to others. Why? Because he loves them and cares enough to make whatever sacrifice is necessary to get the news to them, even when they reject and threaten him.

My Father also made me aware of the difference between knowing and believing something. I may know something intellectually but it is not until I believe it that I will act on it and it impacts my behavior. I can see Paul engaged in intellectual debates with learned Rabbis to try and change their minds. Paul must have realized that as an outsider he would have only limited success. They had to “believe” that Jesus is the Son of God and only he can offer them life eternal. Knowing it because he told them was not sufficient.

Pontius Pilate was not the only Proconsul to say to the Jewish leadership “--- this man is your problem, you deal with him”. Gallio did the same with Paul. We see again the pattern of Paul engaging the Jews and Gentiles and creating resistance by challenging their traditional beliefs. Then departing to repeat in another place. It was through other Jewish converts like Apol’los that went back after Paul’s departure and preached the Good News that many believed. They could then see past Paul’s ranting when the message was confirmed by one of their own and then they believed. Paul (and my father) teaches that we must know Jesus in our heads and we must believe him in our hearts. Thanks to both.

AMEN

John Dickie, Sept.25, 2006

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