Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Monday, 15 August 2016

Acts Day 147 - Turf War

13:42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul."

When Paul concludes his message I'm sure you could have heard a pin dropping on the stone floor of that synagogue and it would have sounded like a gun shot. His message was the same as the one Peter preached in Jerusalem at Pentecost. It was the same as the one Stephen preached just before they stoned him to death. The message is not knew but the audience is. They didn't have twitter or instagram. There were no news updates pinging on their phones. There were no daily newspapers. The only way this message of the cross was getting out to the world was by foot, man to man. These people had never heard the message before and they begged them to return the next Sabbath and talk to them some more.

For some of them that wasn't even enough. They followed Paul and Barnabas when they left the synagogue. They wanted to hear more. Some of them were Jews by birth. Some of them were Gentiles who believed in the God of Abraham. They were like dry thirsty land that had received water for the first time in months. The next Sabbath almost the whole town came to that synagogue. How did that happen? No news network. No social media. No flyers in the mail. People that are excited about something are by far the best form of advertising there is. You can't stop them and they have direct credible access to other people. Like falling dominoes the message spread from mouth to ear all through that town and they all came.

What was the effect? Envy. The leaders who ran that synagogue became jealous. Why did no one come to hear them speak? Quickly the jealousy morphed into opposition. They now had a crowd in their building on their turf and they were going to use the opportunity to regain whatever turf/control they could.

It's amazing to me how distorted our thinking can become, how jealousy can turn a man bringing good news into an enemy. Paul was not interested in their turf. He wasn't planning to stay. He only came to offer grace and truth where only law existed. He brought them a Saviour instead of a hopeless and impossible pursuit of salvation by perfection. He opened to them the truths hidden in plain sight in their own sacred writings. He wasn't seeking their money or their synagogue. However jealousy is blind, envy is enraging, and the results were an ugly turf war.

But what about us? Are we able to listen and hear above the raging of our own emotions? Are we ruled by reason and truth or bias and prejudice? Do fight for or against things based on principle or something less? Do I mock and resist people who eat healthy because it's a bad idea to be healthy or because I'm protecting my gluttonous turf?

See how easily we are controlled by unhealthy emotions and flawed thinking? Two men came to town offering the best news ever for free and the very ones who should have been foremost in embracing the message lead the charge to silence them.

"The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" – God

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