Thursday 25 January 2018

Bible Book:

“For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” (vv. 11-12)

Galatians 1:11-24 Thursday 25 January 2018

Psalm: Psalm 67


Paul’s confrontation with the Christians in Galatia turns on their reluctance to accept that he was truly an apostle of the Lord Jesus. He had been challenged by some people who wanted to cast doubt on his ministry. In this passage, after an unusually tart opening to the letter, he responds by giving his own testimony, with some biographical details about his conversion and his subsequent journey of discipleship. His point is that his apostleship is not simply cloned from some generic blueprint but is authentically a commission from Jesus himself, the only role model Paul ever sought to follow. The challenge he is facing seems, at first sight, to be simply about Paul himself. He never even met Jesus (in the ordinary sense); how can he possibly be ‘chosen’ as the 12 were chosen? Even worse, of course, was the fact that Paul’s previous career had been one of passionate, violent opposition to the Christian community.

There is also a question about how the community can receive God’s call. Is God’s word confined to a particular time in history – the time of Jesus? Would it be a mistake to suppose that God can still call people and endow them with skills and gifts and nature of an apostle? How do the status and authority of later apostles relate to those of the original 12? This relates to a much larger question: after the Bible took its final shape, is God still speaking? Is God still addressing us?

The answer we find suggests that God‘s call upon individual lives is by no means limited to those 12 disciples whose call is recounted in the Gospels. As circumstances change, God issues fresh calls – fresh minds and fresh gifts for new challenges. And we must again be prepared for God’s eye to light upon the most unlikely of followers.

To Ponder

  • How do you recognise the ministry of contemporary apostles? How do you know it when you see it? And how do you recognise the moment when the call of God touches you?
  • We believe that in some sense the Bible contains God’s revelation of Godself to humanity. Has God revealed all that need be revealed? Or everything that can be revealed? Or, is God trying to get through to us, even today, with new inspirations, new responses to new circumstances? If so how does this connect with the way we read the Bible?
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