Daily Devotional – Tuesday Aug.7, 2007
Lord, bless me with understanding and clarity. Open me to your message and love.
We continue today with Luke’s account of the critical teaching experiences of Paul as he spreads the word of God’s great gift to the world. We read again about how the Jews reject his teaching. In this case the Jews complain to the Roman proconsul that Paul is persuading men to worship God contrary to the law. They would have the Romans judge Paul against Roman laws. The Roman has the good judgment in this case to reject their complaint as it was the Jewish law that Paul challenged and he refused to deal with it. Paul then left and went to Ephesus where he stayed for a period of time and then departed leaving 2 others to continue their work. They wanted him to remain but he said that he would return if God willed it.
Luke then tells of a Jew named Apol’los coming to Ephesus after Paul's departure. He is described as eloquent and was aware of Jesus and the ways of the Lord. Together with those Paul had left behind they continued to teach the Jews in the synagogue with great success. When I read these stories about the difficulties Paul had to “convert” the Jews I wonder why he even tried. Why not preach only to the Gentiles? I believe that Luke and Paul (to a lesser degree) considered the new spirituality reality introduced through Jesus Christ as the evolution of Judaism and not as a new belief. It was important to them to show the connections between the Jewish teachings and those of Jesus. It was therefore important when a Jew like Apol’los becomes the one delivering the good news that the long awaited Christ is Jesus.
As I read these accounts of the early history of our Church I am encouraged to see the power of God prevail against man’s rigid adherence to tradition and the “law”. Even today we continue to see man’s inability to look beyond their own traditions and experience and fail to see what heaven has to offer. We are often a slave to our history and cannot see God's will in the changing world around us. Our Church is being callenged by a changing world. Jesus is all about change. Are we?
John Dickie, Aug.7, 2007