Posts Tagged ‘Synagogue’


Acts 18:1b, 4-6, 9-11
Paul left Athens and went to Corinth… Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles”… One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

For a long while, I imagined Paul to be a strong and courageous man for his ability to speak out against what was not right and stand up for the gospel. In today’s passage, we see another side of Paul; we see fear and frustration in a man devoted to the cause. So much so that God had to reassure him in a vision. Paul in his ministry traveled significantly with one goal in mind – to serve Jesus to the world and now he seems lost. What happened to Paul? Had he lost his drive and passion? Was it the strength of the opposition or the lack of support in his ministry? What is the Lord speaking to us this morning?

Like many, we tend to put our faith in things we can see and touch and so in Paul, we drew confidence from his powerful ministry and life because he is a person we can relate to. However, we are reminded again that Paul is not the role model we need to follow but Christ. Paul, like you and me, is a servant of God and lived to glorify God, not himself. We need to be focussed on Jesus and draw strength and direction from Him. As human as Paul was, he could only see opposition and hardened hearts but God sees the big picture and directed him to continue to serve. We need to ask God to show us the way to serve him and we need to give it our all. The reason should not be self glory but God’s glory and our eyes need to fixed on Jesus throughout.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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John 12:42-43
Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

During Jesus’ ministry, his life was constantly in danger from people who were threatened by his ministry and the fear was not that Jesus was able, was the messiah, was the Son of God or was strong but it was the fact that people started to throng after him. The Jews in authority were the ones who controlled the temple and this control gave them access to immense wealth, great respect, followings of people who would give everything up for them and a life where they were always looked up to. Suddenly Jesus came and seemed to steal their thunder. I’ve often condoned them and anyone else who tries to stand against the gospel but I now see them in a different light.

I was and am sometimes like one of these men of power. It seems like pride continues to be a stumbling block in our lives specially when we overcome difficulties and seem to be comfortable. Comfortable is an uncomfortable place for me spiritually because like those men, I tend to get complacent and judgmental and look down upon people whom I consider less privileged. I am reminded today that the ones I judge must call me brother for I have been in their shoes and I do not want to be judged by the Lord by his standards. If we were to stand before God in his perfect holiness, we would be totally destroyed for we are full of sin and filth but I praise God for he has washed me clean in his son Jesus’ blood that I now can spend eternity in heaven in God’s presence. I pray that the Lord would keep us humble and never let pride or fear of man find any room in our lives.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting http://groups.google.com/group/in-his-loving-service. Also, share this with your friends and family who need some encouragement and direction in their lives.