Thursday, April 30. Acts 13:36-52
this is a repost from the Acts study.
Yesterday we saw a wonderful example of Paul’s standard message to the Jews. The Jews were (and are) a blessed people because they have had the direct revelation of the one true God from the beginning of their history. They had been waiting and anticipating the coming of the Messiah for generations. When presented with the clear truth of Jesus’ resurrection and his position as the Messiah and the Son of God, many, many of them made the natural transition from being an Old Testament Jew to being a New Testament Jew as they simply accepted Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.
Many, however, after hearing the same message, did not receive this message warmly. Here is the lesson for us today – often, when the gospel is presented, it is going to polarize a crowd. Those whose hearts are ready will come toward the healing light of the good news. Those whose hearts are calloused and are riddled with the twisted roots of the distorted truth, will become hostile to the truth and work with a vengeance to see the preaching of the good news get shut down.
There are many reasons for this resistance. Some who are in leadership of the local system fear losing control and feel compelled to squash the competition. Others may have invested great amounts of money into the current religious system and are afraid of losing their fiscal viability if the status quo is upset. Still others may be so gripped by pain and bondage that they feel the need to destroy the proclaimers of Jesus’ good news.
As followers of Jesus we need to be prepared for this mixed reception. Being a proclaimer of Jesus is probably not going to win you a popularity contest. More than likely it may cost you your job or reputation. It may even cost you your life. Yet, when you consider the true healing and transformation that will come to those who embrace the good news and step into the healing and transforming power of God’s Grace, then the opposition fades into an irrelevant issue in the eternal perspective.
As we fight the fight and proclaim the truth, let us never give up hope. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:2-3)