Read Acts 11 -- 13
In Today's Reading:
Peter's report to the Jerusalem church; death of James; Peter's imprisonment and deliverance; death of Herod; Paul's first missionary journey
Saul of Tarsus was born a Jew, but he was also a Roman citizen by birth in the town of Cilicia, a Roman province (Acts 16:37-38). His family, it seems, had considerable wealth. Following the prescribed study of the Scriptures in Tarsus, Saul was selected for further rabbinic studies in Jerusalem as a student of the famous Rabbi Gamaliel (22:3). Paul later shared with the Galatian Christians that he was exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers (beliefs of past rabbis passed down as authoritative) (Galatians 1:14).
After he accepted Jesus as the Messiah, he changed his Hebrew name Saul to his Roman (Gentile) name Paul to identify himself better with Gentiles. On his first missionary journey, Paul and his company . . . departed from Perga . . . to Antioch in Pisidia, a Roman province of Galatia in what is now Turkey. They went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down. And after the reading of the Law and the prophets (Acts 13:13-15), they were invited to speak. Paul chose prophetic Scriptures to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. He began with a review of how the God of . . . Israel chose our fathers. . . . raised up to them David to be their king. . . . Of this man's seed (offspring) God has according to His promise raised to Israel a Savior, Jesus. . . . Their rulers, because they knew Him not. . . . desired . . . Pilate that He should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree, and laid Him in a sepulcher (tomb). But God raised Him from the dead (13:17,22-23,27-30).
Through Christ's death and resurrection, we receive eternal life. But, being saved and justified from everything is far more than just choosing a better way of life. First, it is realizing the awfulness of sin as an offense against God, having real sorrow for our sins and a sincere desire to be delivered from those sins. This is followed by a decision to live life by avoiding and resisting sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul declared: By Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses (Acts 13:39).
12:1 Herod = Agrippa I, King of Judea, grandson of Herod the Great (Luke 1:5); to vex = to trouble; 12:4 four quaternions = 16 soldiers; Easter = a mistranslation of Passover; 12:15 mad = insane, out of your mind; 13:17 high arm = great power.
For Acts 13:22: See I Samuel 13:14; Psalm 89:20. Acts 13:33: See Psalm 2:7. Acts 13:34: See Isaiah 55:3. Acts 13:35: See Psalm 16:10. Acts 13:41: See Habakkuk 1:5. Acts 13:47: See Isaiah 49:6.
BP Staff: Jim Ryan · Pray for Evangelist Mary Hobbs · Country: Central African Republic (3 million) in the center of the African continent · Major languages: French and Sangho · Religious freedom · 47% Protestant; 34% Roman Catholic; 12% animist; 3% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Seek God in prayer continually and depend on His strength (I Chronicles 16:11).
Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 5:22