Peter and Paul Parallels Continue

Today’s reading is Acts 14.

Once again, Luke is on his mission to demonstrate and prove Paul is just as much an apostle as Peter. In Acts 13, we see that Paul preached the same message as Peter. In Acts 14, Paul performs the same miracles as Peter. Of course, there are differences. However, in Acts 3, Peter heals a man lame from birth so that he goes walking and leaping and praising God. In Acts 14, Paul also heals a man crippled since birth. Further, Paul faces the same persecution as Peter. In Acts 3-4, Peter is imprisoned following the healing. In Acts 14, Paul ends up getting stoned. Every time we note these parallels we should be assured of the same joyous message. Paul wasn’t going rogue. When he taught the gospel to Gentiles, it was part of God’s plan. Praise the Lord! I get to be in Christ. So do you.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 14.

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Aeneas: A Testimony for Peter

Today’s reading is Acts 9.

For a couple of chapters, Acts moves back to following Peter. But this entire story is going in a powerful direction. Luke is setting the stage for the inclusion of the Gentiles in the kingdom of Christ. We see a kind of parenthesis in Acts 8:4 and Acts 11:19. Both passages mention the folks who scattered from Jerusalem, but went preaching. What is in between these two parentheses is actually setting the stage for the Gentiles that will become Christians in Antioch. Luke knew this would be a shock to the readers. Many simply would not believe it. So, he provides an undeniable argument by progressing through a series of conversions. We saw Simon the Samaritan Sorcerer become a Christian. We saw an Ethiopian Eunuch, very likely a Gentile that had been proselytized to Judaism, become a Christian. Then we saw the biggest enemy of the church become a Christian. In Acts 10, we are going to see the first Gentile Christians. But to prepare us for that, Luke takes us back to Peter and proves that Peter is still a faithful apostle. God is still working miracles through Peter. Just as Peter had raised up a lame man in Acts 3, he does so again in Acts 9. Aeneas is a great testimony for Peter. We can listen to Peter. We can follow Peter. We can heed Peter. God is still with him. He isn’t going rogue. He isn’t changing the plan. This is what God had in mind all along. So, let’s keep reading. Exciting things are ahead in Christ’s church. Exciting things that mean something very important for me and most of you reading this blog.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 9.

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Why Judas?

Today’s reading is Mark 4.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus picked Judas as one of the twelve? He knew the future. He knew how it would end up. But He picked him anyway. Was Judas a bad guy and Jesus just needed a bad guy to make sure He got betrayed in the end? I don’t think so. Judas was apparently good enough that none of the rest had a problem with him being in charge of the money bag. He wasn’t an obviously bad, awful man filling a spot and biding time for Jesus. I suggest Judas was chosen because Judas was qualified. By God’s grace, he had everything he needed to be a great disciple of Jesus and a great apostle. However, at the same time, he also had everything he needed to be a betrayer. The fact is Judas is just like us. We have everything it takes to be a traitor, but by the grace of God we also have everything it takes to be great disciples and servants of Jesus. The question is which will we choose. Start today. Which will you choose today?

Tomorrow’s reading is Mark 5.

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Even Me

Today’s reading is Acts 9.

He may not have been one of the Christ killers, but he was a Christian killer. He held the coats of Stephen’s stoners. If he didn’t lead the persecution that drove the Christians out of Jerusalem, he was instrumental in it. Even that wasn’t satisfactory for him. He got permission to travel and take the persecution to other cities. And yet Jesus invites even him into the kingdom of the redeemed. Jesus forgives even Saul. The Spirit fills even Saul. No wonder Saul was unashamed of the gospel. I thank God for Saul. If Jesus would do this for even Saul, He will do it for even me. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 10.

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In the Footsteps of Jesus

Today’s reading is Revelation 11.

One of the biggest objections to the gospel when it was first preached was folks disbelieving that the Messiah would suffer and die before His coronation. The apostles and early Christians had to walk people through the Old Testament, showing all of God’s anointed ones did that: Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, even Israel as a nation. One of the biggest objections today is disbelieving the followers of Jesus will suffer before our victory. But that is exactly the picture of the two witnesses. They are the friends of Jesus who testify to Him and seemingly they should be unstoppable. Surely they will never suffer. Surely they will never die. And yet, that is exactly what happens. They are killed and their enemies rejoice. But after three and a half days, they are resurrected and taken to glory. Does that remind you of anyone? Of course. It reminds us of Jesus. Let us not be surprised when we walk in the footsteps of Jesus, it is the path the Lord’s anointed have always walked. But it always ends in victory. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 12.

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Jesus Has a Job for You

Today’s reading is John 21.

I wish I didn’t know how Peter felt when he went fishing. I wish I didn’t know how Peter felt when Jesus asked him, “Do you love me more than these?” Sadly, I too have denied Jesus. Sadly, it has been more than three times over my years as a Christian. Sometimes, I too have wanted to just go back to the old life and fit back in where I might somehow medicate the guilt and shame. And yet, Jesus wouldn’t leave Peter there. Jesus had called him to a new life, and He wasn’t going to let Peter go that easy. When Jesus first called Peter, it was to be a fisher of men. Now it is to be a feeder of sheep. But the point is, even with all Peter’s flaws, mistakes, failures, and sins, Jesus still had a job for Peter. Take that with you today. Even with all your flaws, mistakes, failures, and sins, Jesus still has a job for you. Hang on to Him, He’ll get you there; just like He did with Peter.

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 John 1.

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