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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 12 - Acts 20:4-23:35 - Paul Braves Persecution to Set Things Right

Today’s Reading: Acts 20:4-23:35

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Paul wants to keep the peace between himself and the Jews, but they will not allow it.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Paul continued travelling. The Jews continued plotting against him.
Paul met Ephesian elders one last time and charged them to guard their flock. They prayed and cried together.
Agabus prophesied that Paul would be arrested in Jerusalem. Paul held his resolve.
In Jerusalem, Paul purified himself in order to quell dissention; however, he was arrested in the Temple. On trial, Paul told of his conversion and commission to teach the Gentiles. He stirred up controversy by mentioning the resurrection of the dead before the High Council.
Paul's nephew uncovered an assassination plot against Paul. Paul was sent to Felix.

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

Elders are appointed to both lead the flock and guard against bad influences.

Paul's teary-eyed meeting with the Ephesian elders gives us a moment to look into the purpose for elders. Paul wanted them to continue helping their flock set things right and also to prevent bad influences from creeping in and taking members away. Listen to your elders. Their job is to protect you from influencers that might lead you to (spiritual) death.

Paul's attitude portrayed a person dedicated to setting things right in God's Name.

Paul is being told by his friends and travel partners that if he went to Jerusalem he would be arrested—something that could lead to his death. Paul, though, will not listen to their warnings because to him, "The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience" (21:13, The Message). We, like Paul, should be willing to go through trials and suffering because God might be able to work through us.

Paul wants to keep the peace between Jews and Christians but ultimately fails.

Many people may criticize Paul for attempting the Nazarite vow. They think he is caving in. However, I think Paul is living out his philosophy of being subject to the Law of Moses around Jews and not when around Gentiles in order to save both. The Jews think he is denigrating the Law of Moses, so Paul will show them he still respects the Law by going through with a vow. Unfortunately, the Jews do not allow that to happen and he is arrested anyway.

How can God work through you?


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