Read Acts 10:9-28
“You know it’s forbidden for a Jewish man to associate with or visit a foreigner. But God has shown me that I must not call any person common or unclean.”(vs. 28 HCSB)
“One of the main differences between Peter and Paul was the contrast in their calling. Peter was entrusted with the Jews; Saul was entrusted with the Gentiles (Gal. 2:7). (1) Interesting that God knew both the circumcised and uncircumcised needed a bigger vision. Both the Jews and the Gentiles would need a Savior!
“God taught Peter a very important lesson through the vision we read about in Acts 10. God always dishonors prejudice. Peter probably not only saw himself as different from the Gentiles, but better. ’ ‘Yet his willingness to have his closed mind pried open was testimony of his godly sincerity. Having our minds pried open is rarely easy, but vision is rarely given to those who refuse. We are challenged to overcome prejudice on many levels, certainly not just race. Some of these include economics, denominations, ministries, etc. Differences will always exist, but division doesn’t always have to result. Although God chose Peter and Saul to minister to different groups of people, He intended for each of them to see the importance of the other in the overall vision.” (2)
“Praise God that all who are in Christ have been made clean. We must be careful to avoid spiritual elitism. Everything we are and anything we possess as believers in Christ is a gift of grace. Pure hearts before God must be cleansed from any hint of spiritual pride. We must aggressively fight the enemy when he seeks to nullify our growth and good works by making them invitations for pride and prejudice.” (3)
Verse 15 tells us that God drove home a point to Peter “What God has made clean, you must not call common.” It started with a visual of food and Peter thinking what to eat or not eat. God using the simple things to capture our hearts for the greater purpose … the vision becoming clearer and aligning to what God has on His heart! Is your heart/mind open to see the bigger vision that God has put inside you?
Look closely again at the scripture references:
- vs. 17 – tells us Peter was “deeply perplexed” by the vision as it didn’t line up with his thinking (HCSB)
- vs. 19 – tells us as Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said to him get up and go with the three that were coming with “no doubts” (HCSB)
God revealed a message to him. He saw and then he pondered even as it perplexed him. How about you?
- Have you received revelation from the Lord and then what did you do with it?
- Do you think about it or do you dismiss it?
- Is there an adjustment to your thinking that God needs to make clearer to you?
(1-3) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B & H Publishing
Read Acts 9:26-31
“But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.” (vs. 27 NIV)
“God had issued Saul an undeniable apostolic calling. He probably assumed his place was with the other apostles. But when he arrived in Jerusalem and tried to associate with them, ‘they were all afraid of him, since they did not believe he was a disciple’ (vs. 25)” (1)
The Jews wanted to kill him since his conversion on the road to Damascus. When he arrives in Jerusalem he didn’t receive a warm welcome either because of his past; “they were all afraid of him”. What would be going through your mind? “But… Barnabus”!! Just in the nick of time! Or would you say “a divine encounter orchestrated by God?”
“Barnabas reached out a helping hand to a discouraged man. Saul took the hand. Two lives bonded in that moment.’ ‘Barnabas offers us an example we don’t want to miss. His name had been Joseph, but the disciples renamed him ‘son of encouragement’. God used Barnabus over and over to give others the courage to be the people He had called them to be.’ ‘Barnabus was willing to give people a chance even when others weren’t. He persuaded the apostles to accept the new convert, and the most powerful preacher in all Christendom was set loose in Jerusalem.”(2)
Just as soon as the apostles accepted him, they sent Saul by boat to Tarsus. “Meanwhile the church he left behind ‘was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers (vs. 31 NIV)
Why not be a Barnabas today! Take the time to encourage those around you
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,”
(Hebrews 3:13a NIV)
(1-2) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B & H Publishing
Gen. 17:1-11 “…This is my covenant which you are to keep between Me and you and your offspring after you: Everyone of your males must be circumcised” (vs. 10 – HCSB)
Welcome everyone to the beginning of Paul’s life! So glad you decided to join us. What a way to start a study :) But as you continue to read along with us I believe it will make more sense than you think!
The tradition of circumcision was something Saul’s father would make sure his son would be doing as a devout follower. (As a side note, Paul’s name was originally Saul and wasn’t changed until later in his life). Beth states “In a society where a child could be discarded as rubbish, nothing was more important to the Jew than offspring. ‘His name is Saul!’ A perfectly noble name for a Hebrew boy from the tribe of Benjamin, named for the first king of the chosen nation of Israel. A fine choice met with great approval.”(1) A feast was prepared for just an occasion and the celebration ensued. But what were they celebrating? Yikes! Really!
We all celebrate with traditions around special occasions. There are many who continue the tradition of circumcision today. But is it possible that this tradition may have more significance especially from a biblical perspective? In all honesty I never stopped to think too much about it and personally don’t know too many people who celebrate with a feast afterwards. So there’s got to be more and especially with “covenant” attached to it. Circumcision includes different meanings according to dictionary.com:
- surgical removal of the foreskin of males for sanitary purposes
- spiritual purification
- RC Church - the festival celebrated on Jan 1 in commemoration of the circumcision of Jesus
Different meanings for one word! In reading scripture when “covenant” is mentioned it causes me to pause and take notice even though it was written 100′s of years ago. What’s the relevance today and does it matter the community who continue this tradition that seems to have been established so many years ago?
Beth asks us “What role does ceremony and tradition play in your and your family’s life, especially your life of faith?”(2) Thanksgiving, Chanukah (Hanukkah), Christmas, New Year’s are all right around the corner. Are there traditions that you follow? And why do you celebrate?
1 & 2 – “Paul, 90 Days on His Journey of Faith”/Beth Moore/BHPublishing Group