Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem.
Paul chose Timothy to join Silas and him on their mission team. People who knew Timothy spoke highly of him. Timothy came from a rock-solid background in Scripture with his grandmother and mother. However, his father was a Gentile and had raised Timothy as a Gentile man — not circumcised as a covenant-keeping Jewish male would have been.* Just as the Jerusalem council had decided (Acts 15:1, 23, 28-29), Paul was adamant that circumcision must not be required of Gentiles as Christians. He didn't allow Titus, a fully Gentile young team member he chose later, to be circumcised (Galatians 2:3). However, Jews considered Timothy to be a Jew since his mother was Jewish. With Paul beginning his outreach in each new city in the synagogue, circumcision was both an important declaration of Timothy's loyalty to his Hebrew heritage and a wise move to prevent unnecessary obstacles to the Good News about Jesus. Paul was committed to not let his behavior and practices make it hard for people to come to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:22). We should carefully follow his example in our commitment to cross-cultural outreach!
* Our Related Scripture Readings speak to Paul's approach related to his mission to Gentiles and Jews.
O Father, teach me not to place unnecessary obstacles in the way of others coming to Jesus. I ask for this wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in Jesus' name. Amen.
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.
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