Tuesday, April 28. Acts 13:13-25.
Here is an important lesson for Christians to remember. Jesus did not come to start a new religion. He was Jewish and never asked anyone to stop being Jewish. The Good News of Jesus is first, and foremost, a Jewish story. It is also good news for the non-Jewish people (Gentiles). Part of this good news is that Jews and Gentiles can actually get along with each other, because of Jesus. Unfortunately, this has not usually been the case.
Today’s reading is the first of a three-part series that begins to show how the Jewish/Gentile issue unfolds in the apostle Paul’s life. Let me set the stage. Paul and Barnabus have been on a journey that is taking them, not only physically further away from Jerusalem, but also culturally further away. They would travel from town to town and tell the story of Jesus.
The first place they would stop in each town was in the local synagogue (that is the worship meeting place for the Jewish people). It was Jewish custom that when a rabbi (teacher) was visiting, the synagogue leaders would invite the rabbi to speak to the people. So, Paul was naturally invited to speak.
Notice where Paul begins his story. He goes all the way back to the story that shapes the Jewish mind. God used Moses to deliver the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. This story is the most powerful symbol of God’s salvation for the Jewish people. Then, Paul traced the history of how God shaped the people into a nation and ultimately brought them a king named David. He was “a man after God’s own heart.” Every Jewish person knew that God had promised to bring the savior from David’s line. Paul was here to tell the people that Jesus is that savior.
Tomorrow we will see how Paul’s lesson continues…