Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Victory March!

Our walk this morning starts us back in the Antioch Church.  Serving, prayer and fasting launched Paul and Barnabas (and John Mark) on the first missionary journey.  It wasn't a smooth ride.  First we see a false prophet attempt to block the work of God--but he was unsuccessful.  In fact, the confrontation led to faith for the one who sought God.  My take-away:  obstructions are opportunities for God.

One of the party returned home before the others; scripture does not tell us why.  We know he did not abandon the Lord but the return created a stir (we'll probably hear about that tomorrow).  My take-away:  let people listen to God and trust that God is working in their hearts and our own.  We don't have to understand or even agree.  We are simply called to faith.  (Boy, did I need to hear that this morning as I watch a situation unfold in my own church!)

Then, perhaps the part that thrilled me the most!  Saul and Barnabas go into the temple and lay the entire plan of God--prophesies fulfilled!  The journey for the promised Savior included a lot of prophesies that were ugly:  rejected and despised of men, man of sorrows, crucified.  Mankind fulfilled those prophesies...and Paul begged his listeners to not be fulfillers of the ugly prophesies.  We have a choice.  We can be part of the Light or part of the dark.  God's ultimate plan still unfolds.  The journey of the Savior included resurrection and all power, glory and honor! 

The Jews of Antioch were not resistant (initially) to the message...but envy for the joy with which the message was received stirred them up.  It was self that generated contradictions and blasphemous words and the stirring up of 'good people.'  It reminds me of words we've not yet come across this year from James--what stirs up fights among you except your own lusts.  We'll get to that, but for today, my final take-away:  the results of rejection in one situation creates a door in another.  The rejection of Paul and Barnabas by the Jews of Antioch, launched them into ministry to the Gentiles.  The Light went forth because of the rejection.  The disciples endured obstructions and persecutions and wrapped it all in joy because the Kingdom was on the move.  It is still advancing.  Rejoice with them:  we serve a great and mighty God!

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