Tuesday 12 May 2015

Bible Book:

“... we bring you good news that what God promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus” (vv. 32-33)

Acts 13:13-41 Tuesday 12 May 2015

Psalm: Psalm7:1-11


After the dramatic events of yesterday's passage we now read a wholesermon from Paul. We can enter synagogues today as inter faithguests, but Paul and his friends, though Christians (a name coinedin another Antioch in Acts11:26), are also capable Jewish men and invited to address thesynagogue. Paul does not introduce himself but begins by appealingto Jewish history with an overview of divine promise anddeliverance, sometimes described as 'salvation history'. Perhaps,like Jesus, Paul's comments are inspired by the 'reading of the lawand the prophets' (v. 15) which he has just heard. In his sermon hequotes from Psalm 2:7 (verse 33), Isaiah55:3 (verse 34) and Psalm16:10 (verse 35). A good knowledge of Scripture is thebeginning of an interesting interaction, for Paul and also forus.

The scriptural background and the expectation of a Messiah fromthe house of King David provides Paul with the link he needs tointroduce the story that he really wants to tell, of a promisedSaviour (verse 23). Initially he does so by talking about John theBaptist, a respected figure firmly within the Jewish religion. Whenhe begins to say more about Jesus, it is to talk about the lastdays of his life and the conflict with the religious leaders. ForPaul both the sharing of the gospel, and the gospel message itself,are firmly set in a context of conflict. Often, though not here,this puts Paul on a collision course with his hearers. Again,understanding and reading of Scripture are central and key totensions both then in the synagogue (readon beyond the end of today's passage) and now, when Christiansand Jews read Scripture together.

Paul offers a message of fulfilment in today's key verse, "whatGod promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us ... byraising Jesus". It is this which leads into the particularChristian reading of the earlier Scriptures, including theunderstanding that they prophesy the death and resurrection ofJesus. He closes with another hard verse, in God's own words, aboutnot believing (verse 41).

To Ponder

  • How does Paul's sermon compare with today's sermons? To whatextent has he set a pattern for later preaching?
  • In what way do you experience the gospel creating tension andconflict?
  • What do promise and fulfilment mean to you?
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