Saturday 23 May 2015

Bible Book:

“After that, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the countryside of Judea, and also to the Gentiles…” (vv. 19-20)

Acts 26:9-25 Saturday 23 May 2015

Psalm: Psalm 16


In this passage we have Paul being charged by the Jews forperverting their religion. In this passage he has to appear beforeKing Agrippa. The nub of the matter is the charge a) that he ispreaching about resurrection and of Jesus being resurrected and b)that he is preaching to Gentiles.

So, in front of Agrippa, Paul rehearses his whole life - fromthe time when he was a Pharisee, an orthodox Jew and a greatpersecutor of those who followed Jesus, through his experience onthe Damascus road and his subsequent mission all around theMediterranean Sea to bear witness to Jesus and his Way. Paul is atpains to show that he is thoroughly grounded in Jewish thought andpractice and that after his 'conversion' experience his faith wasstill in the same God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Theonly difference is that he now believes in God's new revelation ofhimself in Jesus, who lived, died and rose from the dead. Paulemphasised that all his life he had sought to do God's will andthat the vision from God on the Damascus road was that he shouldbear witness to Jesus and go to all nations (verse 20).

The Jewish objection to Gentiles was that they were 'sinners' -a lesser breed of people 'outside the law.' In summary Paul'sdefence was that he was doing nothing unscriptural, and that he wasbeing faithful to his heavenly vision and especially so withregards to welcoming Gentiles. Paul's claim was that he wasfulfilling rather than undermining the traditions of hispeople.

It is interesting to note that all reformations and revivals inthe Church make the same claim as Paul - a return to the traditionof the early Church to fulfil it rather than undermine it.


To Ponder

  • If we examine ourselves and our churches closely are therepeople that we regard, however unconsciously, as being inveterate'sinners', of a 'lesser breed' and outside the realm of our andGod's care or concern? What might that say about us?
  • How do we cope with the fact that some newer Christianmovements regard us (indigenous British Christians) as ripe formission and evangelism, and as people who have lost or never reallyhad the true faith?
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