Read Acts 11 -- 13
In Today’s Reading:
Peter's report to 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 birthright, in the town of Cilicia. His family, it seems, had considerable wealth and standing. Following the prescribed study of the Scripture in Tarsus, Saul was selected for further rabbinic studies in Jerusalem as a student of the famous rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 9:11; 21:39; 16:37-38; 22:3,25,29). Paul was exceedingly zealous of the traditions of the fathers (Jews' religion) (Galatians 1:14). He also had an exceptional knowledge of the Scripture.
After his remarkable conversion to Jesus Christ, he then changed his Hebrew name of Saul to his Roman name Paul. God appointed him to be the Apostle to the Gentiles and Peter the Apostle to the Jews (II Timothy 1:11; Romans 11:13; I Peter 1:1; II Peter 1:1).
On his first missionary journey, Paul and his company. . . . departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. . . . After the reading of the Law and the prophets (Acts 13:13-15) they were invited by the rulers of the synagogue to speak. This was not the Antioch where Barnabas and Paul had preached the Gospel for a year and where believers were first called Christians (11:19-26). Pisidian Antioch was within a Roman province of Galatia in what is now south-central Turkey. It was here that Paul gave the greatest message recorded in the New Testament about the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul chose certain prophetic Scriptures to prove that Jesus was Christ -- the Messiah. He began with a review of how the God of . . . Israel chose our fathers. . . . He raised up David to be their king. Of this man's seed (descendants) has God, according to His promise raised up a Savior, Jesus. . . . Their rulers . . . demanded of Pilate that he should be slain. . . . And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him (by the prophets) God raised Him from the dead. . . . We declare to you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made to our forefathers, God has fulfilled for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus (from the dead); as it is also written in the second Psalm, You are My Son, this day I have begotten You. . . . Wherefore He said also in another Psalm, You shall not suffer Your Holy One to see corruption (meaning God raised Him from the dead) (13:17,22-23,27-29,30-35).
Paul further declared: Let it be known to you, men and brethren, that through this Man (Jesus) is preached the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all who believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses (13:38-39). This was the heart of Paul's message.
Being saved and justified from all things is far more than just choosing a better way of life. First it is a realization of the awfulness of sin as an offense against God, having a sorrow for that sin and a sincere desire to be delivered from sin. This is followed by a daily decision to avoid and resist sin through the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within the life of every believer; just as Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost when he said: Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. . . . Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:21,38).
Thought for Today: Every Christian can be a helper in ministering the Word of God to others.
12:1 Herod Agrippa I, King of Judea was the grandson of Herod the Great (Luke 1:5); vex = to trouble; 12:4 four quaternions = 16 soldiers; Easter is a mistranslation of Passover; 12:15 mad = out of your mind; 13:17 high arm = great power.
For Acts 13:22: See Psa. 89:20. Acts 13:33: See Psa. 2:7. Acts 13:34: See Isa. 55:3. Acts 13:35: See Psa. 16:10. Acts 13:41: See Hab. 1:5. Acts 13:47: See Isa. 49:6.
Pray for your church · Country: Congo, Republic of the (2 million) in west-central Africa · Major languages: French and Lingala · Limited religious freedom, but government hostility has lessened · 41% Roman Catholic; 20% fetishism and belief in ancestral spirits; 17% Protestant; 9% cults · Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to show you His ways (Exodus 33:13).
Memory Verse for the Week: Acts 8:37-39