Daily Devotional – Tuesday Oct.10, 2006
Lord, bless me with understanding and clarity. Open me to your message and love.
This weeks reading reads like a good mystery novel. It is full of intrigue, good guys, bad guys, treachery and suspicion. It also leaves you hanging wanting to read further to see how the story ends. It would do well as a screenplay or novel. We know that it is the continuing story of Paul and Acts of the Apostles. We also know how the story ends and also why it ends the way it does. Yes it is dramatic and for a reason. We need to see ourselves as we really are. Paul wanted those he preached to to see themselves as God sees them. It is not a pretty picture and no wonder they wanted to kill him.
This won’t make a lot of sense if you have not read the passage. In short, 40 Jews commit that they will not eat or drink until they have ambushed and murdered Paul. Paul finds out and sends a messenger to tell the Romans (he is a Roman citizen). They plan to intercede and capture Paul themselves and send him to the Governor. No, this is not a Saturday afternoon Western movie.
What do we take from this story? Bear with me for a moment. Let’s pretend that we are one of the 40 who have committed to kill Paul. Why am I doing this? I am a good Jew. I know the Law. I am living life the way I have been taught and I follow the rules. I love my God and I love the community I am in. I am protected by it and my livelihood comes from it. My religion is the center of my life. Along comes this foreigner who challenges everything I believe. He presents God through this human being Jesus Christ and talks of resurrections and life after death. This just doesn’t fit. It destroys everything that is important to me. He is threatening our whole way of life. Not just mine but also my family and those I care for. I cannot let this continue. He must be stopped. And I am not the only one that feels this way. There are 39 others who feel the same. We cannot all be wrong. WE HAVE TO STOP HIM. "Please God help us to stop him!"
Wow! I am scaring myself just writing this because I believe this is the way we in the West are perceived today my many Moslems around the world. We need another Paul and we need him now.
John Dickie, Oct.10, 2006