For in your days I am doing a work,
a work you will never believe,
even if someone tells you plainly!" (from Habakkuk)
Paul and Barnabas prepared to leave the synagogue, but the people wanted to hear more and urged them to return the following Sabbath. As the people dispersed after the meeting, many Jews and converts to Judaism follow Paul and Barnabas. Paul and Barnabas continued teaching them privately and urged them to remain steadfast in the grace of God. The next Sabbath, it seemed the whole city had gathered to hear the message of the Lord. But some of the Jewish leaders were jealous when they saw these huge crowds. They argued with Paul and Barnabas about their teaching.
Paul and Barnabas responded with great confidence: It was only right that we should bring God's message to you Jewish people first. But now, since you are rejecting our message and, by doing so, identifying yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we are turning to outsiders (Gentiles). Remember the Lord's words:
I have appointed you a light to the nations beyond Israel,
so you can bring redemption to every corner of the earth...."
Acts 13: 41-52
Paul asserts that the good news is for all. Jesus came to complete the work of the Jewish nation: salvation for all. They failed; He prevailed.
I am sometimes like the Jews, presuming the message is personal, when it is also universal. This causes me to question myself.
Do I take for granted that the salvation message is for me and mine, forgetting the universality of God's intention? Do I look on certain groups as outside the circle of "privilege" of being a member of God's household? Do I keep others out with my exclusivity? Let it not be so!
Help me to provide comfort where ever it is needed! Let my life be an example of Christ's offer to come into the family!
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