We see in this section how the actions of two men, acting as individuals, have changed the fates of all humanity. One brought death and destruction to all of mankind. The other promises reconciliation and life to all mankind.
Both of these men began in similar circumstances but the outcomes of their lives and the impact of what they did were vastly different. Both began life as perfect creations of God. One fell from Gods grace and so doomed all of mankind to a life of sin and death. The other brought a process of reconciliation and transformation to lift man from the depths of this doom and to be able to walk in the glorious light of gods love, grace and salvation.
I am of course speaking of the first man Adam and Jesus Christ for the fate of the world as we know it rests on the actions of these two men. Adam, through whom we inherited the nature of sin and death and Jesus through whom we receive grace and the promise of life.
The Lord will have the word of the gospel delivered to those who wish to hear it. All obstacles to the preaching of the word will be removed.
Sometimes this is more dramatic than at other times as this short section of scripture testifies to. But regardless of how it is done, the will of God will prevail and His word shall be proclaimed.
Let’s look at this short section which describes one of the more dramatic moves of The Lord to ensure those to whom the word would come received the gospel. In this case Paul and Barnabas had gone down to the island of Paphos and had been proclaiming the word. They then met up with the proconsul Sergius Paulus who was the governor of the region. Continue reading “No Stopping the Word”
One of the most amazing events in the book of Acts was the transformation that took place in the life of Saul who became the apostle Paul. The mechanism of his conversion was so amazing hat it is no wonder he was rocked to the very core and spun about one hundred and eighty degrees from total opposition to Jesus Christ and Christianity to become one of its most fervent proponents.
And we should thank The Lord that He did turn Saul/Paul on his ear for Paul wrote most of what we know and need to learn about life under the New Covenant and life in he spirit.
So let us take a brief look at the life of Saul leading up to his conversion. Where was he, what was he thinking and doing and how did The Lord turn his life about so dramatically and wondrously.
We live in a virtual world these days. Much of what we do and how we connect with one another is done online. We have instantaneous access to information and people across the world by using the Internet. We make friends, find partners, do work and find entertainment in the virtual world.
The virtual world allows us to do things, see things and find things without actually being there physically. We can almost live our whole lives without leaving the comfort and security of our own homes.
And people think this is such an amazing and new thing that they do not even realise that the virtual world existed and was operating thousands of years ago. Yes this same instant and immediate activity was working back in the time of Jesus and the apostles, and we can see a good example of it in practice in these scriptures.
In this world there are many religions, cults and sects. They all operate in the name of some so called deity or god and they invoke the name of their so called gods for all manner of things.
By their gods they seek help, wealth, power and so on. But their gods are deaf and silent and give them nothing for they are not true gods. Rather they are the fiction and fantasies of men.
But there is one name known among men that is all powerful. There is one name given among mankind that has great power for the owner of that name is neither deaf, dumb or blind to what occurs in this earth. This name is the only name by which a person can be saved and find salvation for it is through faith in this name that all good things are received, and in due time, eternal life.
As Peter and John came to the temple at the hour of prayer, they came upon a beggar laying at the temple gate seeking alms from the people. This beggar had not asked to be healed but simply looked at Peter and John asking them in the hope they may give him some money.
Peter looked intently at the man, as did John, and Peter said to him these words.
6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
This was a miraculous healing for the man had been lame from birth and he was well known and recognised, for he came to this gate of the temple every day seeking alms. As a result, all the people who were there and saw what was happening were amazed at this incredible miracle.
When Jesus was in the hands of Pilate he was taken out and scourged or whipped by the soldiers. It was at this time that they mocked and spat upon him calling Jesus the King of the Jews and making a crown of thorns to place on his head. Little did they understand the truth of their words and who it was they were mocking.
Pilate was in a difficult position. As the governor of Jerusalem by appointment from Caesar, he had to judge all the matters of the Jews and to ensure or enforce law and order. And yet here the Jews had brought Jesus, a man they wanted put to death, but Pilate could find no crime worthy of the death penalty in anything Jesus had said or done. Let us see what he did. Continue reading “Jesus Delivered to Pilate”
After being “interviewed” by the chief priest and officers of the Jews, Jesus was taken to Pilate. This was all part of the Plan of God and the fulfilment of prophecy where He said he would be delivered up to the Gentiles and would be shamefully treated by them.
The way the Jews acted when they brought Jesus to Pilate shows their hypocrisy and their malice. The words they said and the actions they took showed just how false they were, as you will see.
Jesus speaks in this section about the Spirit of truth who He sends and who will come to the disciples. The Spirit of truth is the same Counselor Jesus speaks of in earlier sections of this chapter and it is the Holy Spirit that He will send as a gift to man after He dies and ascends to the Father.
This section of scripture is one that gives us some more insight into the role and purpose of the Holy Spirit. It explains more of the reasons why it is important to receive the Holy Spirit and why this gift is so essential in our walk with Jesus Christ.
There are many advantages to being a Christian and knowing Jesus Christ. The full number of them may never be known by us as individuals.
However in this section of scripture we see that Jesus points to the specific advantage that we received not through His coming, but by His going. By this He is referring to the advantage that comes to man through His death, which I have called the Jesus Advantage and the reason why Jesus died.
Jesus points to one specific advantage that we will receive through His death, which I will discuss shortly, but there are others that we received through His death which are also worth looking at as they go to the core of the Christian walk and understanding why Jesus died.