JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said.”
August 16, 2009, 1:23 pm
Filed under: E Acts

Reading chapters 12 to 14 in Acts testifies to this statement made by Paul and Barnabus as they completed their first missionary journey. Again Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection are fully being realized, becoming reality in the lives of His followers as He expresses His life through them, finding a home, a dwelling place, among “all the nations.” In chapter 12 “James, the brother of John, (was) put to death with the sword” by King Herod’s command and also put Peter “in prison.” This forced the Body of Christ in Jerusalem, in their homes, to “earnestly” pray “to God for him.” And God answered their prayer and Peter was miraculously released! Because “Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down.” In chapter 13 and 14 we see the advent of church planting in its truest form. Jerusalem never truly is the focus now, the shift it seems is the move of God to the nations. After years of learning to die to self, taking up the cross, and following Jesus, the Body of Christ in Antioch becomes a truer reflection of Jesus living through His body. The body of Christ focused on building their inner life, seeking Jesus life together, through worshipping, fasting, and praying together. How I would have loved to be at those gatherings where they were joined fitly together, living stones, being built together in the Lord, seeking God! As a Body they could sense the Lord’s direction! I/we need this kind of life! Following the teachings of Jesus, Barnabas, Paul, and Mark leave on their missionary journey. It seems they just went, it is not clear that they had a specific place in mind, except that they were “sent on their way by the Holy Spirit.” Lord help me and Your Body to wait on You, so that I/we can truly know Your direction, not my/our own. Mark soon leaves Paul and Barnabas and returns back to Syria, perhaps not having counted the cost involved. And man was their cost! Paul was actually stoned in one place, and lived to tell about it! Paul and Barnabas focus seems to be reaching those in the Jewish synogogues with the good news of Jesus that “God raised him from the dead” and that “through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you…” Awesome news! People want to know that in truth and in reality my life, your life, can be forgiven and we can truly live a new, changed life! as a result many believed in the message, first in Pisidian Antioch, then to Iconium, then to Lystra and Derbe all in the southern part of Turkey today, originally known as Galatia. Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogues and the marketplaces to find people willing to listen to the message of good news about Jesus. They were living the life of Jesus among those they met, His life, ministry, death, and resurrection! Showing love and wisdom to all they met. They spent time in each place, perhaps not a lot of time, but enough time, to show the new followers of Jesus, the life, ministry, death, and resurrection life of Jesus. The basics of living together as the Body of Christ in their town, learning to love one another as Christ had loved them, dieing to self, taking up the cross, and following Jesus, being devoted to the apostles teaching about the life of Jesus, being devoted to each other, living a shared life together from house-to-house, worshipping God and breaking bread together. Then they left them in the care of the Holy Spirit, they committed them “to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.” They showed them, modeled to the new followers of Jesus, how to develop their inner life together: encouraging each other, praying and fasting together, listening to the direction of the Holy Spirit together. Lord build in me these inner qualities together with Your Body, the church, that I too can better listen to Your Holy Spirit and follow the directions You give me/us!


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