Daily Archives: September 12, 2017

Through the Bible, September 13

Reading: Acts 19-20

Summary: Paul’s third journey is dominated by his time spent in Ephesus.  This is Paul’s lengthiest stay in any one location as far as the record of Acts is concerned.  It becomes a basis of operation for the evangelization of all of Asia, likely including the beginning of many of the congregations of which we later learn in the New Testament.  As several of Paul’s epistles are written during the time of his journeys (particularly the second and third), we will turn our attention in our daily reading to these letters—beginning next week—before returning to the historical account of Acts (during the second week of November).

Devotional Thought:

The Way

“If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re going.” (Professor Irwin Corey).

That showed up today in my “Quotes of the Day” widget on my browser’s homepage.  In today’s Bible reading, the Christian faith (or we could say the church or the kingdom or Christianity—as used biblically, not popularly) is referred to as “the Way” (Acts 19:9).  That’s not the only time this happens (see also Acts 9:2; 19:23; 22:4; 24:14,22).

The word literally and simply means a way, a road, or a path. So the Christian faith is seen as the way to God and life and eternal bliss.  The native American’s name for Christianity was “the Jesus road.”

Of course, Jesus famously spoke of two possible roads on which one might travel.  One is narrow and restrictive, the other very broad and accommodating.  The first, as Jesus said, leads to life, the second to death (Matt. 7:13-14).

Now, back to the quote of the day.  Few people take the time to consider where they are going; that is, where the path on which they currently travel in life will take them.  Most need to change direction—sounds kind of like repentance, doesn’t it?  Most are on the path leading to destruction, Jesus says.

“The Way,” by all means, is the way to go; otherwise we’ll end up where we’re going.

Through the Bible, September 12

Reading: Acts 17-18

Summary: This eventful journey of Paul and Silas continues.  Having read yesterday of Paul’s first venture into Europe in response to the “Macedonian call” (16:6-10), the gospel has come to Philippi and now also to Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth.   Before the conclusion of chapter 18, Luke tells of Paul’s start of his third journey and the arrival in Ephesus of another prominent and effective preacher, Apollos.

Devotional Thought:

Necessary

Isn’t what Jesus has done wonderful?  His care and His love for people?  His marvelous teaching?  His dying for me?  Wow! It’s just all pretty amazing.

Has someone ever done something for you that was very nice and for which you were quite appreciative, but it wasn’t really necessary?  You could have done it yourself, someone else could have done it, or maybe it didn’t really have to be done at all—though it was still a wonderful thing they did?

None of that is true of what Jesus has done.  Paul explained and proved to the Thessalonians that it was necessary for Jesus to suffer and rise from the dead (Acts 17:3).  Necessary.

It was necessary because of sin.  It was necessary because of God’s justice and mercy.  It was necessary because only He could accomplish receiving sin’s penalty on our behalf. It was necessary so that we might have salvation and hope, which every person needs.  It was necessary because it answered the “finality” of death.

It was necessary because it had to be done; I could never do it for myself, and He alone was able to accomplish it.

Is what Paul proved lost on me?  Has the weight of the necessity of Jesus suffering and rising from the dead fallen fully upon me?