13 November 2017

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READING: ACTS 13:23-31

“From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’

“Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.”

REFLECTION

Hello, welcome to the Foundations daily podcast. My name is Dave and I’ll be taking us through this week. I’m responsible for STC College, which is our discipleship year and Young Adults Church. Over the next 5 days we’ll be continuing through the book of Acts. Acts is the story of what God did in and through the early disciples after Jesus had been resurrected and had returned to Heaven.

We’ve been reading how the early Church has been growing, the Gospel message starting to spread. Today and for the next few days we will pick up the story of Paul preaching in a synagogue, which is where Andy finished last week. Paul is a follower of Jesus who has recently been picked out, prayed for and sent off into the world to share the Good News. He’s been asked to share a few words of encouragement and instruction with all those present and we pick up his message as he’s talking about King David. Today we’re looking at Acts 13:23-31 and here are verses 23-25.

“From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Saviour Jesus, as he promised. Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’”

So Paul has started by talking through the history of the Jewish people. This is similar to the message that we heard Stephen preaching back in Acts 7 a few weeks ago. However Stephen gave a much longer version of the story that slowly built to a point he was trying to make.

Paul is doing something different here. This feels more like an introduction, and an urgent one at that. Paul doesn’t slowly let his message dawn on the listener, instead each line references Jesus quite clearly. You’ve heard of King David? Well, this is how he relates to Jesus. You know that guy John that had loads of disciples? Well, this is what he had to say about Jesus. Paul is giving Jesus the best introduction he can. He’s painting a picture, he’s replacing rumours that people might have heard with truth.

We’ve all been part of an awkward introduction. Those moments you introduce two people and forget the name of one of them, or worse, both! Let’s think about the flip side today. What’s the best introduction you’ve ever heard? Real, or in films or literature. For me the classic film A Knight’s Tale has to be up there. Paul Bettany plays the herald of an unknown and slightly dubious Knight. He starts with the crowd pleasing line of ‘My Lords, my Ladies, and everybody else here not sitting on a cushion’ and then builds slowly into a crescendo of ‘the one, the only, Sir Ulllrrrich von Lichtenstein!’ It’s a funny film and an excellent introduction.

Whether it’s the first line of Pride and Prejudice or our first glimpse of Captain Jack Sparrow sailing into port on a perfectly timed sinking ship, it’s clear introductions are important. They set us up for what comes next. They frame how we’re going to see a character or a storyline or a person. The question that all this leads to is this: what introduction do we give Jesus? When we speak of Him what do we say? Who is He to us? What difference has He made in our lives? If people know that we are Christians then suddenly this opens up even more, what does the way we live say about the Good News? Let’s pray together as we think on these questions this morning.

PRAYER

Lord thank you for the book of Acts. Thank you for the exciting stories of the early Church growing and the Good News spreading. As we think today on what our words and actions say about you help us to introduce you well. We pray that through what we say and do others would get a glimpse of what you have done and are doing in our lives. Amen.

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