Monday, March 10, 2008

In Search Of Truth

Bibleburned Acts Chapter 13:26-52

Paul knew he would be presenting some "out of the box" ideas to his traditional Jewish audience, so he paved the way with lots of references to Hebrew scripture. By quoting Psalm 2, he reminded his listeners that the Messiah would come from David's uniquely blessed bloodline. (It was nearly unheard of in the Old Testament for someone to be called a "Son of God"!) As he made clear, Jesus, descended from the Davidic bloodline, was eligible to fulfill the role of Messiah.

Paul's audience understood that some of the promises given to David would be fully realized in his descendants. He reminds them of this by quoting Isaiah 55:3. Then he zeroes in on a specific promise to David's messianic descendant: That he would not see decay.

This is another reason that belief in Christ's resurrection is vital to our forgiveness and salvation. If Jesus didn't really rise from death, then he's not the Messiah and he can't do anything to restore our relationship with God. Additionally, if Jesus can't save himself from death, why in the world would we think he can give us real eternal life?

Paul finishes by emphasizing the one thing that easily separates Christianity from every other major religion. Forgiveness and a right relationship with God that we don't earn ourselves in any way. As much as we should want to honor and please God with the way we live our lives, rescue from eternal death and access to heaven comes only through our trust in Jesus. Like the Jews of Paul's time, so many today, including those who might call themselves Christians, believe that if they are "a good person, that should be enough." But compared to Jesus, no one is good. Jesus is the only one who can earn a way to heaven. So that's what he did, for everyone. Our role is simply to acknowledge who he his and trust that his work effectively "pays the fine" for our criminal record.

Some of Paul's listeners were convinced. Others were not. This kind of spiritual transaction goes against our nature. We want to trust and believe in ourselves. We don't want any "crutches". The Jews who rejected Paul's teaching may have felt something similar. But the invitation to have a fixed relationship with God was opened to Gentiles (non-Jews) as well, causing the truth about Jesus to spread even further and change even more lives.

Jews of high social standing who rejected what Paul was teaching eventually said "enough is enough" and kicked Paul and Barnabus out of the city. But the two "missionaries" just picked themselves up and went on to Iconium.

Next Week: "That's My King!"

Coffee House Question:

What thoughts/images come to mind when you hear the word "Easter"?

1 comment:

  1. I think of Jesus on the cross, and Good Friday, with Jesus in the garden with the soldiers coming to arrest him. IT just sticks there all the time.