Reflecting on the journeys of Paul and Barnabas
Don’t you hate it when people misquote you or mislead other people about you? Think how infuriating it must have been for Paul and Barnabas when those “brothers” from Judea showed up in Antioch and tried to upset the peace of the Gentiles there who had received Christ. What? You were baptized but not circumcised? No, no, that’s not what Jesus demands. He expects all Gentile men to behave like Jews if they want to be saved. We know what Jesus wants. We’re the authorities. Don’t listen to Paul. What does he know? He never even knew Jesus.
It’s scary to think about what would have happened to the world if Paul had caved into that. If he hadn’t trusted completely in the Spirit’s guidance to open the way of salvation to the Gentiles, the Jesus Movement would certainly have died out before the end of the first century. Instead, the Holy Spirit inspired him to ask an entirely revolutionary thought: could it be that Jesus is for all of us? And once he knew the answer to that, nothing could stop him from bringing Christ to the Gentiles of the ancient world, and so to us.
I guess that’s the Spirit’s signature work―to open our hearts wide enough for Jesus to do something wonderful and new. Something new. I like the sound of that. Pentecost awaits.
Sharing God’s Word at Home
Can you sense the Spirit urging you to do something new and wonderful?