January 05, 2021 – Tuesday
Acts 13:38-41 NIV
38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.
40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:
41 “‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’” from Habakkuk 1.5
From Paphos, Cyprus Paul and Barnabas along with John who had been with them sailed 100-150 miles to Perga, Pamphylia. There John left them to return to Jerusalem while Paul and Barnabas traveled overland to Pisidian Antioch. It was there on the Sabbath, after a reading from the Law and the Prophets, they were invited to speak.
Paul stood up and spoke. First, he provided a history (v16-22) of God’s chosen people from their time in Egypt to Canaan. Then through the time of judges, to the time of kings from Saul to the time of David from whose seed God promised a Savior – Jesus. Before Jesus came John the Baptist saying (25), there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.
From there he presented the message of salvation and how Jesus was rejected fulfilling the words of the prophets. How the rejection included crucifixion though innocent of any wrongdoing. Then taken down, He was placed in a tomb from which God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who are His witnesses to our people (v31). Then, starting with a quote from Psalm 16:10 he said (v35-37), ‘You will not let your holy one see decay.’ Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. Of course, he was speaking of Jesus not seeing decay.
And now we arrive at our verses for the day, Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. How extraordinary this must have seemed to them, forgiveness and freedom from every sin, both unattainable via the law of Moses. And it was free!
Still, as Guzik writes, Some refuse to embrace the salvation of Jesus in the secret place of their heart, because they want a salvation of their own making. They want to be saved the old-fashioned way – they want to earn it. Thus, it is important to hear what Paul writes in the next two verses as if he knew there would be those who would think they could earn their salvation quoting from Habakkuk 1:5, Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: “‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’” The unexpected happened as they were leaving the synagogue; they were invited back to speak on the next Sabbath. Such was the power of God’s message of Grace that even those who may eventually oppose it, they want to hear it.
There will be more tomorrow on what happened on the next Sabbath, but there is a real message here about the power of God’s message of Grace. It was powerful then, just as it is now. The difference now is getting though all of the cultural noise – radio, tv, social media, the internet – so that it can be heard and heard clearly. Most often we see this in crusades, revivals/awakenings, and visits to Bible focused churches where the message is heard in one form or another most Sundays.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father – Let all of us keep Your wonderful message of forgiveness close in our hearts to where we share it with others, so they might know the peace we have in Your Son. – In Jesus name. Amen.