So Paul stood, lifted his hand to quiet [the people in the synagogue], and started speaking. "Men of Israel," he said, "and you God-fearing Gentiles, listen to me.
"Before [Jesus] came, John the Baptist preached that all the people of Israel needed to repent of their sins and turn to God and be baptized. As John was finishing his ministry he asked, 'Do you think I am the Messiah? No, I am not! But he is coming soon — and I'm not even worthy to be his slave and untie the sandals on his feet.'
"Brothers — you sons of Abraham, and also you God-fearing Gentiles — this message of salvation has been sent to us! The people in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, and in doing this they fulfilled the prophets' words that are read every Sabbath. They found no legal reason to execute him, but they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway.
"When they had done all that the prophecies said about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead! And over a period of many days he appeared to those who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to the people of Israel."
— Acts 13:16, 24-31 NLT
Paul was emphatic: Jesus is God's chosen Messiah. He descended from David in human form, and the prophesied suffering servant Messiah of Jewish expectation. Unfortunately, God's people rejected and killed Jesus. However, he didn't stay dead. He rose on the third day and then appeared over several weeks to many Israelites. The resurrected Jesus sent out witnesses to testify of his resurrection so that all people, both Jews and Gentiles, could know God's love and receive God's grace. Paul was one of those witnesses and desperately wanted all people to believe in Jesus. Sharing the story of the resurrected Jesus was Paul's mission, with an emphasis on reaching Gentiles. However, he started in the synagogues with Jewish audiences and Gentiles sympathetic to the Jewish Scriptures. Jesus is rooted in God's story of Israel. That means that all who come to faith in Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile, find our spiritual roots in Israel's history, too.
O, gracious Father, thank you for sending Jesus. Thank you for your plan that insisted that Jesus, who is one with you, come and live among us as one of us. I rest my concerns and place my future in the hands of Jesus, your Anointed One, the Messiah, the Son of David, the King of Israel, and my Lord and Savior. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Luke 24:44-49; Romans 1:16-17, 11:13-24
- 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, 15:1-9
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Monday, July 26, 2021
About This Devotional
Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.
Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.