19 May 2011Acts 13:13-25
"Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, give it." (v. 15)
And we are off again, and the journey continues, and the speed
of travel appears to be breathtaking. Suddenly we find that Saul
has become Paul, and, and, and ... this story is moving very
quickly. In a handful of verses we have travelled across most of
the Roman province of Galatia. Why we lost John Mark en route is
not made entirely clear but it could point to the subsequent rift
between Paul and Barnabas (Acts
Paul has very much taken centre stage now and the passage opens with the declaration that it is Paul and his companions who set sail to Paphos. As always, Paul begins his mission by entering the local synagogue. After being invited to give a word of exhortation by the officials of the synagogue, Paul offers the Jewish community and all those who fear God, what has been called by biblical scholars, the 'Testimony of the Past'. This is a long speech which might, by today's standards, be considered a rough guide to the story of God's dealings with the people of Israel; a resumé to remind them that the biblical story is moving to a particular point in history, a fulfilment of a promise, and that is the Christ event.
We hear much in contemporary life about the work/life balance. How do you think Paul might have understood this, and, how do you understand Paul's drive to spread the gospel? How this might influence your life now?
What would you include in a potted history of the story of the engagement of God with the world to a friend to help them understand the good news?