Monday, September 06, 2010

Acts 13:44-52

In today’s reading a verses 46 and 47 struck me as interesting. These verses read, “Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" Let’s take a closer look.

The phrase do not consider yourselves worthy is not only interesting, but curious. One can hardly imagine synagogue Jews thinking of themselves as unworthy of eternal life. Perhaps we should see here just a bit of Pauline irony which might be paraphrased, "You Jews, who always consider yourselves righteous, now apparently do not think you are sufficiently righteous to take advantage of God's gift; so we'll offer it to the Gentiles and see what they say." The idea of inherent self-righteousness driving out God's righteousness is hardly new; this common spiritual disease afflicted the Pharisees.

Luke made an interesting transition and application in the use of Isaiah 49:6. Israel was to be the light for the Gentiles; but, since it never fulfilled that role, God sent Jesus to become his real servant and carry out that mission. Now Paul and Barnabas, servants of Jesus, have inherited the mantel and become the light.

In today’s world we are called to be the light – to spread the word of Jesus. How are you doing in this aspect of your life? It is helpful to me to be reminded of this calling. I hope I can be that light for others.

Wishing you much success in your walk with Christ,

Friday, September 03, 2010

Acts 13:13-25

Today's reading is yet another example of how Paul had committed his life to Christ completely. This includes giving God control over his life. Perhaps you could say that Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus was certainly a life altering event to cause someone to give up control of his life. But will it really take something like that for each of us to give up control of our lives to God?

I had surgery yesterday – nothing life threatening but major surgery. What a way to learn that you don’t have control. Even through all the pre operation prep, the constant questions, instructions from nurses and doctors, the anesthesia and coming to, I still fought it. I was not about to give up control of my body. Of course, the joke was on me the whole time because I truly had no control. I fought it by trying to tell myself I was fine, this is no problem, cake walk, I’ll be fine in the morning.

What I could have done was enter into grace, allowing God to take over and trusting in Him instead of taking some gasping measure to try to hang onto control I never had to begin with. Just like Paul and the apostles did as they spread the word of God and all the time knowing that they would likely lose their lives in horrible ways, and yet continuing on because they had given control of their lives over to God.

I’m not saying abdicate responsibility. It is my responsibility to follow the doctor’s instructions. But to give control over the situation, I allow God’s grace to spread over me like a warm blanket and I don’t have to worry about the outcome.