God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19 - Acts 9-10: God Calls Gentiles and an Ambassador to the Gentiles

Today’s Reading: Acts 9-10

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Saul is called to minister to Gentiles because he is unafraid to make people angry.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Jesus chided Saul for persecuting Christians.
Ananias baptized Saul, God's Apostle to the Gentiles.
Damascenes conspired to kill Saul for teaching about Jesus.
In Jerusalem, Barnabas helped the Apostles overcome their fear of Saul.
Saul was eventually sent to Tarsus.
Peter healed a paralyzed man in Lydda and returned life to a godly woman in Joppa. Many people believed in Jesus.
An Italian captain, Cornelius, sent for Peter. Peter saw a vision that all animals could be eaten. Peter taught Cornelius' household about Jesus and the forgiveness of sins. The Holy Spirit came upon them and everyone was baptized.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Saul was never shy about following God.

Whether Saul was persecuting Christians or trying to make disciples he went without any sense of trepidation or fear. When Saul believed God rejected Jesus' Disciples, no Disciple was safe. Once Jesus convinced him that he was wrong, the Disciples had peace and the Jews had problems—a motivated Disciple of Jesus wanting to prove that He was the Messiah. May God give more people willing to obey God with no fear!

Saul became God's Ambassador to the Gentiles because he was willing to stir the pot.

The first few years of his Christian life, Saul spent his days arguing with the Jews about Jesus being the Messiah. In Damascus, the Jews may have felt betrayed by Saul and posted guards to prevent him from leaving. Even though he had people waiting to execute him, Saul escaped to Jerusalem and continued teaching. The Apostles had to send him to Tarsus just so they could have peace again. Those who are willing to openly and forcefully teach in the face of opposition are the best ambassadors to people who others do not expect to obey God.

Tabitha was brought back to life because she loved to set things right.

I love this story because it reminds me of so many ladies (and men) I've known willing to help Jesus' Disciples. I have travelled many places in the world and one of few things that stayed the same was the eagerness Christians had to house us. We received many great blessings from God's Chosen People wherever we went.

Cornelius was chosen to become the first Gentile Disciple because he was willing to set things right spiritually and physically.

Cornelius was not the typical Gentile. He loved God with all his heart, soul, and strength. He loved his neighbor as himself. He wanted his household to honor and worship God. Of all the Gentiles in the land inhabited by Jews, Cornelius could have been the most worthy of being called God's Chosen Person. People other than God's Chosen People are willing to set things right.
Cornelius provides a great example for Saul's argument in Romans. We'll hold off until then to make it.

God no longer considered race or ancestry when choosing His Chosen People.

God chose Abraham and made a covenant with him and his children. They rebelled and would not listen to God, eventually killing His Son sent to call them to return to Him. Therefore, God changed the default to become His Chosen People from ancestry to willingness to set things right in God's Name. The Pharisees, religious scholars, chief priests, religious leaders, and Sadducees were all Abraham's physical descendents but were unwilling to obey God. Cornelius was not Abraham's son but he was willing to obey God. God chose Cornelius. God rejected the others. If you want to be God's Chosen Person, you must obey Him. Lineage is no longer acceptable.
Many people think Christians do not have this problem today. However, it is a generational issue not limited to the Jews. Children can grow up like the Jews and have no sense of setting things right but want to be considered God's Chosen People. We must understand that God's Message stays the same. Even though God has now called His Chosen People the Disciples of Jesus does not mean they are the only ones willing to set things right.

Who do you know willing to make others mad by telling them about Jesus?

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