Day 315 (Nov. 11): Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. I enjoyed today’s reading and thought it was very easy to follow. To me, the central theme of it was that God is erasing the lines between Jews and Gentiles. He is fading out many of the old laws that were just for the Israelites. The disciples and other believers in Jesus are now allowed to preach to the Gentiles. However, it appears that there is still plenty of dissent out there from those religious leaders with hardened hearts who are standing by the old law and using it to persecute others.
A. Yes there are, and there are also Christian Jews who continue to question exactly how God is moving among the Gentiles, but we will see that the Spirit will guide Paul in preaching to the Gentiles and also to the Jewish Christians to bring them around.
Q. (Acts 10:9-16): So, for anyone, including the Jewish religious leaders, to understand that God was making food clean to eat that once was unclean and for them to know that God’s kingdom is for all believers, Jews and Gentiles alike, they would have to listen to the disciples preaching about it. They were not privy to this information even though they were in a high position. I can see how this would manifest jealousy and anger in the Jewish leaders.
A. The Jewish leaders who have not proclaimed faith in Jesus, frankly, will not be a part of this story much longer. This is about what God (specifically the Spirit) is doing through these few thousand Christians and their leaders.
Q. (Acts 12:1-5): The disciples must have been somewhat discouraged by Stephen and James’ death. Jesus sent them to spread the Good News, but now two followers have died.
A. He warned them about that repeatedly — specifically in John 15:18-25. The world kills what it hates, which is why millions are still dying for the Gospel today. But, Jesus reminds us, that He has already won the victory, and that nothing that happens to His true followers — including death — can change that. (From Leigh An: Our pastor spoke about the Bible Hall of Fame on Sunday. He mentioned “this cloud of witnesses” — Abel, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, David, etc. — in Hebrews 12:1-3. I think it says everything I need to say about the disciples having the right mindset to continue their mission. (Hebrews 12:1-3: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.)