Today’s Reading: Acts 13:46 NIV
46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.”
One of my favorite things to do is spend some time playing word games with my grandchildren. Jett and Joshua are reading well now, and they like to read out loud to Nanny whenever we get together for a visit. Emily is just beginning to read; she enjoys reading a new word and copying it on paper. Madison and Andrew like to be read to. Two year old Andrew will sit on my lap for as long as twenty minutes, engrossed in the pages of a good book. He will pronounce the last word of every sentence after I say it! This is quite an accomplishment with a wee one who struggled with verbal expression only six months ago. It is a challenge to read to Madison; she would much rather tell the story to me. She is flamboyant in her conversation – Maddie has to be up and moving while she tells the story. I’m convinced she took a speed speaking class for three year olds. Maddie gets on a verbal roll and often it is very difficult for Nanny to understand her.
It does not matter who is reading the book – one thing is for certain: the words leap off the page in bold print! Joshua and Jett read with conviction. I hear inflection and emphasis on the very important words of each sentence. Emily likes to use punctuation to emphasize the selected word she is learning to write. Madison cannot stand still while sharing her story. She will stand for nothing less than your complete, undivided attention. If you happen to look away while she is telling her story, Maddie will put both hands on your face and pull you back toward her, so that she has eye contact with you. This little girl has a shot at becoming a fine political lobbyist one day. Andrew pronounces every third word with great conviction and determination. He could become the next great conductor/composer. His words are filled with passion, in a steady rhythmic flow. We better understand the words we read and speak when they are conveyed with heart.
Why did Paul and Barnabas feel compelled to speak the bold Word of salvation to the Jews first? The Father’s plan provided a means for His chosen people to lead all people into a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, His Son. Paul was brought up in a Jewish home. He had a great understanding of the law and prophets; his upbringing and heritage enabled him to convey the fulfillment of Scripture to his brothers who were worshipping in the synagogue. Unfortunately, there were many who refused to recognize Jesus as God’s Messiah; they would not accept the idea that Jahweh would offer His saving grace for all people. It took a holy boldness for Paul to stand before his brothers and proclaim God's Word with such compelling force. Sometimes, we need His Word to hit us between the eyes, to pierce our hardened hearts, so that we might know and understand the Truth.
This is no Word game. Paul and Barnabas are speaking God’s Word as the Holy Spirit gives them utterance. Are we able to fully comprehend what they are conveying to us today? Jesus Christ became the sin scapegoat for all people. Christ’s death and resurrection is proof positive that we can receive new life right now. If you have not yet asked Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior, please pray these words: “Father, I believe that Jesus Christ is your only Son, and that He came to save me from my sin. I invite Christ into my heart today. Wash my sin away in Your precious blood. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for saving me. Amen.”
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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