The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In Acts 22:1-21, Paul, who has been at the center of a riot in Jerusalem, addresses the people of his city. He speaks in Aramaic, so they can understand him and know that he speaks as a Jew. The text says that the people listened carefully. It seems that Paul’s speech, given by someone who is a spiritual leader rather than a civic official, has a positive effect. The riot has calmed.
What does Paul tell the people? He tells them that he has always been a Jew. He has always been zealous for God’s Law. He has never wished to deny the Lord. But he has been confrtonted by Jesus, who has risen from the dead.
The announcement goes well, at leas tthis far. The Jews are mostly accepting of this. Paul is someone who has a high regard for Moses. He cares about the Law. He is loyal. He has had a vision which introduced him to Jesus who he calls Lord.
What caused the crowd to erupt? Paul said that God had sent him to bring the news of Jesus to the Gentiles.This was unacceptable to the Jews. They would have no more of it. Yet, if they remembered the promise of God to Abraham, it made perfect sense. God said through Abraham all nations would be blessed. Jesus, the Son of Abraham, was a blessing to all nations, Gentiles and Jews alike.
The message of the Gospel is often this way. It is acceptable to people up to a certain point, then there will be something which is a stumbling block. We don’t always know where that point will be. But God has given just one Gospel, one message of good news. Jesus is the savior for all who believe. Those who don’t believe on him have no part of him. Those who do, from every people group, in every age, have eternal life. This is the truth which we proclaim.
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