Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Acts 17 : 1-15
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” -(Acts 17:11)
Apostle Paul’s second missionary journey is recorded in Acts 15-18 in which he covered quite a few places like Thessalonica, Macedonia and Berea where he preached the good news of salvation with boldness.
Apostle Paul’s pattern of preaching and presenting the gospel was almost similar in these places- first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. Here in our reading portion, he went to a Jewish synagogue and reasoned with them and explained the scriptures three weeks continually. His emphasis while preaching was nothing else— JESUS is CHRIST and stressed that the written scriptures have been fulfilled through HIM! He proclaimed in the gospel of salvation the Sufferings, Death, bodily Resurrection and bodily Manifestation of Christ. As the Jews are well-versed with the scriptures but did not know the right interpretation, with the help of the Holy Spirit, Apostle Paul explained and expounded them.
In the early church, all the servants of God were preaching about only one thing that JESUS is CHRIST and He is the only way God has kept for mankind for SALVATION by repentance and faith in Him. Paul exhorts: “…we preach Christ crucified”(1 Cor. 1:23). The gospel that does not reveal that Jesus is LORD, is no gospel at all. That is the only foundation laid by God Himself, “… for I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1Cor.2:2). Paul later was forced to leave the city but the outcome of his preaching was that many received salvation (V.4). The power of salvation manifested through the pure gospel, still continues! Let us adhere to this principle every time.
Our key verse compares the people of Berea with those in Thessalonica to show how keenly they received the Word of God and verified the authenticity of Paul’s message by validating it from the scriptures – Let’s look into the same (Act.17:11).
Received the word of God (V.11):- They received the word of God with all readiness and open-mindedness. The audience was very much familiar with the scriptures and they listened to the voice of the Lord without any prejudice. That led them to experience the life changing power of true Gospel. Today even as we are blessed with messages day in and out, can we prepare ourselves to receive them as from the Lord with a non-judgmental attitude? If so, we can clearly hear His voice.
Searched the scriptures (V.11):- The word of God instructs us to search the scriptures daily- “blessed are whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night” (Ps.1:2). Here after hearing the scriptures and proving that Jesus is the Messiah, without any hesitation they started to search the scriptures to know the truth. It is our responsibility to penetrate into the word of God through the help of Holy Spirit… “… but test them all; hold on to what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21)
Believed the word of God (V.12):- Without a second opinion they believed what was plainly written in the scriptures. Child- like trust in His words are the only hope for the believer and surely they will be fulfilled in HIS PERFECT TIME. The promises of the LORD can be trusted; they are as genuine as silver refined seven times in the furnace (Ps.12:6)
Today also, those who are noble enough like the Bereans receive from the Lord and they will walk in His light. Jesus said “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
Warning: "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."( 1 John 4:1)
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