Jesus' Footprints

Posts Tagged ‘rulers

Acts 13:13-52

900165955_466ceaa8d7_mAt bedtime, I read to my son the scriptures where Paul and Barnabas visited the synagogue in Antioch and after the reading from the Law and the Prophets,  the rulers of the synagogue asked them if they had any words of encouragement for the people.  What struck me is when Paul stood up, he used this opportunity to preach about Jesus.

He didn’t start off talking about Jesus.  Instead, he gave a brief summary of Israel’s history beginning with when the Israelites were in the wilderness for forty years.  He spoke about how the Jewish people were ruled by judges until the prophet Samuel and how they wanted to be like the other nations who had kings ruling over them.  They wanted a king too even though God was their King.  They got their wish when Saul, the son of Kish was chosen to be their king.  However, God removed him because of his disobedience and chose David to be his successor.  Then, Paul introduced Jesus, saying,  “From this man’s descendants God has raised a Savior for Israel, Jesus, according to His promise.”

He spoke of the role the people had played in the arrest and death of Jesus. By doing these things they had fulfilled the Word of God.  The Good News, though was that God raised Jesus from the dead and through Him are the forgiveness of sins.  Paul made it clear that we are justified by faith in Jesus and not by the law.  His words encouraged the Gentiles who begged him to preach again to them the following Sabbath.

Has God given you an opportunity to share the Good News about Jesus with others as He did with Paul?  Would you do as Paul did and share your faith so that people will come to know the Savior who died for them as well?  You don’t have to give a history lesson like Paul did.  You can share your own testimony of how you came to know the Lord like the woman at the well.  She told her community that Jesus must be the Messiah that they had been waiting for because He knew everything about her.

What about the challenges you will face when you share the Gospel?  The following Sabbath when Paul and Barnabas returned to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, they were met with opposition from the Jews who were envious.  They contradicted what Paul said but he and Barnabas didn’t allow them to spoil things for them.  Instead, they boldly declared to them that since they rejected the Word of God which was supposed to be given to them first, it would be given instead to the Gentiles for the Lord commanded them, “‘I have established you to be a light of the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”  Verse 48 says that when the Gentiles heard this, “they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And all who were ordained to eternal life believed.”

Don’t be discouraged when people oppose you and contradict what you say.  It’s Satan, your enemy at work, trying to prevent you from doing what God has called you to do.  Like Paul and Barnabas did, act boldly, knowing that the Lord is your side and He will not allow His work to be hindered.  Share the Gospel for the sake of those who will gladly receive it. Don’t let the Satan or anyone put out your light.  Keep it shining for those who will come to it and receive salvation through faith in Jesus.

Today, if God gives you an opportunity to encourage people with the Good News about Jesus, grab it.  And don’t worry about what to say.  The Holy Spirit has that covered.

 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek – Romans 1:16

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In Matthew 13:53-58 we read that Jesus was rejected at Nazareth.  Why?  What did He do?  He taught them in their synagogue.  They saw that He had wisdom and did mighty works.  They knew Him as the carpenter’s Son, Mary’s Son and the Brother of James, Joses, Simon, Jude and His sisters.  He was one of them.  He came from their community.  His family still lived there.  Jesus left there some time ago and was visiting and teaching in their synagogue.

The people wondered where Jesus got all those things (the ability to teach and do mighty works).  They were offended at Him because of these things.  It is as if they felt that He had no business teaching them anything.  They saw Him as the carpenter’s Son not as a Teacher or Preacher or Prophet.  They probably would not have accepted Him as the Messiah.

Jesus got a better reception among the Samaritans (John 4:1-45).  The people in Samaria urged Him to stay with them and afterwards testified that He was the Savior of the world.  The people in Galilee also welcomed Him.

Jesus did not do many works in Nazareth because of their unbelief.  Mark wrote that Jesus marveled at the unbelief of the people of Nazareth.  Their attitude prevented them from receiving the blessings that Jesus would have gladly given them.  They didn’t get to know Him as the Savior because they saw Him only as the Boy who grew up among them.  He was the Neighbor who lived there with His family and then He left.  He was gone for a while and now He was back teaching things they had never heard before.  He taught in wisdom and with authority, but they hardened their hearts instead of opening them to His wonderful teachings.

The attitude of the people of Nazareth toward Jesus reminds me of the Sanhedrin’s attitude toward Peter and John.  To the rulers of the people and the elders of Israel, these disciples were uneducated and untrained men.  They marveled at them and realized that these men had been with Jesus.  They wanted to shut them up, however, because of they were disturbed that they taught the people and preached in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Acts 4:1-3).  The apostles were arrested again because they continued to teach in Jesus’ name (Acts 5:17-28).  After they were beaten and then released, the apostles continued to teach and preach Jesus as the Christ daily in the temple and in every house (verses 40-42).  The unbelieving religious leaders could not prevent the apostles from spreading the Gospel.

This also reminds me of the attitude of the people in the country of the Gadarenes.  Instead of rejoicing when they saw the demon possessed man in his right mind and clothed, they pleaded with Jesus to leave their region.  They were afraid.  They learned about what happened to the pigs and they wanted Jesus to leave.  Jesus complied and go into the boat.

The man whom He helped wanted to go with Him but Jesus encouraged him to stay and share what the Lord had done for him.  So even though Jesus was driven away from the region, His great works were  proclaimed in ten cities (Decapolis) and all who heard marveled (Mark 5:15-20).

When you reject Jesus you are preventing Him from doing great things in your life and yourself from enjoying a saving relationship with Him.  Don’t limit Jesus because of the way you choose to see Him.  He’s more than a Teacher or a Prophet or a good Man or the Son of Mary.  He is the Lord, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lamb of God and the Savior of the world.


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