'Acts' Tagged Posts

Thoughts on: Acts 28

Truly the gospel of God cannot be stopped! In Acts 27, the ship that was transferring Paul to Rome was wrecked, but thanks to God’s grace, none of those aboard died. Here in the final chapter of Acts, we learn that the island on which they were shipwrecked was Malta. Conditions were horrible – that is, until the friendly islanders built a beach fire to warm the survivours. But then Paul is bitten by a snake as he adds fuel…

Thoughts on: Acts 27

At last Paul is on his way to Rome. His “trials” in Jerusalem and Caesarea are finished, and with his appeal to Caesar Paul must be sent to Rome. Again we find that what we read is an eye-witness account from Luke. He and Aristarchus from Thessalonica are accompanying Paul on his journey to Rome. It’s late in the season to be making the journey. The weather at that time of the year, as we see in chapter 27, can…

Thoughts on: Acts 26

In Acts 27, Luke tells of Paul’s hearing before Governor Festus and King Agrippa II. This Agrippa is the son of “Herod Agrippa” – who was very antagonistic to the church. It was he who had James (the brother of John) executed (Acts 12:1-2). Seeing how much that pleased the Jews, he also had Peter arrested during the passover festival (Acts 12:3-4), although God sent an angel to free Peter from his jail cell. Agrippa II was in some ways…

Thoughts On: Acts 25

Two years Paul sat in prison in Caesarea. Two years, and then the new governor, Festus arrived. We see that God’s promise to Paul is coming true. It’s taken two years, but Paul is now definitely destined for Rome.

Thoughts on: Acts 24

The journey from Jerusalem to Rome has begun. Acts 24 finds Paul in Caesarea. For 5 days he’s been kept in prison awaiting his accusers. Foiled in their plot to have him murdered, they are forced to present their case before Felix the Roman governor. They’ve lawyered up, maybe hoping that the smooth talking Tertullus would rung rings around Paul. If so, they are hopelessly disappointed.

Thoughts on: Acts 23

Yesterday we saw Paul preaching the gospel to a highly antagonistic crowd of hyper-fundamentalist Jews. Today we see him out of the frying pan and into the fire. The commander has brought him before the Jewish high council to try and determine what he has done.

Thoughts on: Acts 22

In Acts 21, we saw Paul being dragged out of the temple to be killed. His crime? None! Some Jews from the province of Asia had accused him of preaching against the Jewish people, telling everyone to disobey the Jewish laws, speaking against the Temple, and worst of all of bringing Gentiles into the Temple. On the brink of summary death, Paul is rescued by the Roman commander who arrested Paul; binding him in two chains. As Paul was about…

Thoughts on: Acts 21

As Paul continues his journey back to Jerusalem here in Acts 21, we find him again in the company of his traveling companions – including the good Dr Luke, author of the book. What Luke narrates in this chapter comes at least in part from his own eye-witness experiences. Paul’s journey to Jerusalem is interesting to me. At Tyre, (Acts 21:4), we read that some local believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem.…

Thoughts on: Acts 20

How does one say goodbye; how does one finish your life’s work well? If the book of Acts were a movie, the later parts of Acts 20 would be shrouded in sad, sorrowful music – particularly as Paul and his companions eventually depart, leaving the Ephesian elders behind. But there would also be musical moments of triumph. Paul re-iterates what his mission has been: to tell people what the needed to hear: that one must repent from sin and turn…

Thoughts on: Acts 17

Acts 17 has a fantastic sermon in it – a great message to study when we consider how to share the good news of Jesus with those who come from a non-Christian or non-Jewish society or background. But today I want to focus in on the different reactions that Acts 17 records to the proclamation of the gospel. As we noted a few days ago, whenever the gospel is preached, there is a divide: some accept it and put their…

Thoughts on: Acts 16

In acts 15, we read of the triumph of the gospel of grace in the church: one doesn’t have to be circumcised – or to follow all the Jewish laws, rituals and regulations – in order to be saved. Isn’t it interesting, then, that here in Acts 16, one of the first things we find is Paul arranging for his new offsider, Timothy, to be circumcised! What a wonderful example to us. The gospel sets us free, and yet in…

Thoughts on: Acts 15

Home at last! After the intense missionary journey that finished in Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas must have cherished being back at their home church. It was from Antioch that they had been commissioned by God and his church to spread the gospel to those who had never yet heard it. And their journey over, they settled back into their role of teaching and encouraging the congregation. Acts 14:28 tells us that they stayed there with the believers for a…

Thoughts on: Acts 14

The gospel, as we saw yesterday, shows us that in Christ there are no divides. But what strikes me is that the gospel itself does cause a divide in humanity. Jesus himself said that he came to bring not peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34). And in Acts 14, as in Acts 13, we see this in technicolour clarity.

Thoughts on: Acts 13

The church in Antioch must have been an incredible place! The congregation would have been reasonably big; at least 5 prophets and teachers are named here: Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manean and Saul. And what’s more, these five are drawn from all over: Israel, Cyrene, and Africa. Oh – that the church today were so diverse. To our shame, we are so often mono-cultural. White anglo-saxon protestant churches separate from Aboriginal churches separate from Korean churches separate from African churches; churches…

Thoughts on: Acts 8

Yesterday, in the account of Stephen’s murder, we read that a young man named Saul watched the coats of those throwing stones at Stephen. Here in chapter 8, we read that Saul wasn’t just a passive observer. He was a passionate detractor of Jesus. Even though he had heard the forceful arguments that Stephen had made, Saul deliberately set himself against all that God had been saying and doing – both through the Old Testament era and in the person…

Thoughts on: Acts 6

Just because we’re Christians doesn’t mean we automatically get everything right. Even the early church – led by the apostles and seeing powerful evidence of God’s presence and favour, had its own set of very human hiccups. Here in Acts 6, we read of one such hiccup: an issue to do with the feeding of widows.

Thoughts on: Acts 5

Acts 5 is a study in how different people respond to the God revealed in the gospel. I detect 5 different responses. Those of Annanias and his wife, the crowds, the high priest and his officials, Gamaliel and the apostles. How do I respond to the gospel?

Thoughts on: Acts 4

Yesterday’s reading ended with Peter giving an impromptu sermon to the crowd gathered after the healing of the crippled beggar. Today, in chapter 4, we see the authorities stepping in to try to squash the nascent church before it made too much of a difference. Three points come to mind…

Thoughts on: Acts 3

Acts 3 – the incident of the crippled beggar who gets healed and the sermon that prompts – starts with Peter and John attending the regular afternoon prayer service at the temple. At Pentecost, over 3000 people became members of the congregation of God’s people, and God added more and more on a daily basis. Yet becoming a new believer didn’t require a sudden break from all that came before.

Thoughts on: Acts 2

So much happens in Acts 2! It’s the day of Pentecost, the annual harvest festival held seven weeks after Passover. It was meant to be a time of bringing the best and first of the harvest to God in thanks of all that he has done.

Thoughts on: Acts 1

Today marks the start of a brand new year. 2014. In the western world, we mark our dates according to the birth of Christ. But I think for me, the truly defining moment of history was not Jesus’ birth, but his resurrection…