November 13

Read Acts 11

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 born a Roman citizen in the town of Tarsus in Cilicia, a Roman province (Acts 16:37-38; 21:39). His family had considerable wealth and status. 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's greatest attribute was not his education but his desire to serve his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He later shared with the Galatian Christians that he was formerly exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers (beliefs of past rabbis) (Galatians 1:14).

After he accepted Jesus as the Messiah his intense zeal was as much a part of his life as before and he changed his Hebrew name Saul to his Roman (Gentile) name Paul which identified him 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), and 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.

In his message 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 unto them David to be their king. . . . Of this man's seed (offspring) hath God according to His promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus. . . . They that dwell at Jerusalem, and 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 sepulchre (tomb). But God raised Him from the dead (13:17,22-23,27-30).

Only through Christ's death and resurrection is it possible to receive eternal life. But, being saved and justified from all things is far more than just choosing a better way of life. First, it is realizing the awfulness of sin as an offense against God and having real sorrow for our sins and a sincere desire to turn from and be delivered from those sins. This is followed by a decision to live for Christ by avoiding and resisting sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. By Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses (13:39).

Word Studies:

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.

Cross References:

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.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Linda Kennon · Country: Ukraine (52 million) east-central Europe · Major languages: Ukrainian and Russian · Religious freedom · 55% Ukrainian/Autocephalous/Old Believers/Armenian Orthodox; 15% Catholic; 3% Protestant; 1% Jews; .5% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to deliver you from willful sins (Psalm 19:13).

Memory Verse for the Week: James 1:25