Hope for the Gentiles

Today’s reading is Luke 8.

I know we are reading in Luke today, but Isaiah 65:1-7 is a fascinating passage. There, the Lord explained He was ready to be sought by those who didn’t ask for Him or seek Him. He said “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation not called by His name. These people provoked God despite His calls to them. They sacrificed to demons (noted in the LXX, the Greek version of this passage). They sat in tombs. They ate pig’s flesh. And they told the Lord to “Keep to yourself, do not come near me.” Therefore, God explained He would repay them for their iniquities. Does any of this sound familiar? It’s like Jesus’s time in Gerasa, a city in the Greek region called the Decapolis, was modeled after this passage. The Gerasenes learn of the miraculous deliverance of the demon possessed man. However, instead of being in awe over the miracle, they were scared because of their financial loss in the pigs. They demand Jesus leave. Considering Isaiah 65, what might we expect for the Decapolis Gentiles? Judgment. Quick, brutal, complete, avenging judgment. However, how does this story end? As He leaves, Jesus sends the man delivered from Legion into the region to tell them what God had done for him. There is hope for the Gentiles, even for these Gentiles who rejected Jesus. This is the Savior we serve. Praise the Lord! There is hope for us.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 8.

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Eye-witness Testimony

Today’s reading is 1 John 1.

Sometimes, I forget what I’m reading when I read the Bible. I don’t want to act like the Bible is just a book like any other book. On the other hand, I do need to realize that in many ways that is exactly what it is. These are not some kind of special writings. These are the eye-witness testimonies just as if we were in the jury of a trial and had to figure out if we were hearing the truth. John didn’t sit back and try to make up a story with a couple of his friends. Rather, he saw and experienced things. Then he, and a few others, recorded what they experienced. This, of course, produces a struggle for us. Just as Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time, the Scriptures are fully written by man and fully written by God at the same time. No doubt, just as with the incarnation, this produces some difficulties for us. But what a powerful gift God has given us. His Word in man’s words. Read the testimony. See what you think of it. Then follow it. It is a true record.

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 John 2.

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Raising the Dead

Today’s reading is Acts 26.

“Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?” What an interesting question. Once again, I think of the skeptics today who think the reason Christianity took off is because folks were so superstitious during the Bible times that they would just accept anything. Yet, once again we see that people during the times of the Bible believed exactly what we believe. People don’t come back from the dead. Yet, if God exists, why would it be incredible to think He could make that happen? And this highlights the circular argument some make. Consider the following:

Skeptic: “Jesus wasn’t resurrected because we know that can’t happen.”

Christian: “But if God exists, couldn’t He choose to make an exception to the general rule and raise someone from the dead?”

Skeptic: “But God doesn’t exist, so no one can be raised from the dead.”

Christian: “But doesn’t the historical testimony and evidence that Jesus was raised from the dead suggest God exists?”

Skeptic: “Absolutely not! People don’t rise from the dead, so Jesus’s resurrection can’t be evidence of God’s existence because it simply can’t have happened.”

Christian: “And yet, if God does exist, couldn’t it have happened?”

Skeptic: “But God doesn’t exist, so it can’t have happened.”

On and on the circle goes. Where it stops, nobody knows. But please notice, the above is not an argument based on evidence or testimony, it is based on a philosophical predisposition against God. And Paul is amazed at such a predisposition. So am I.

Monday’s reading is Acts 27.

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Today’s reading is John 20.

Poor Thomas. His worst moment, and it is the only thing he is remembered for, even though better moments are revealed in Scripture. However, I’m glad Thomas is there. I’m glad he doubted. Skeptics today act like these ancient people were all dim-witted, backwoods, superstitious twits who would simply accept anything. But they weren’t. Keep in mind, Thomas wasn’t the only one who didn’t believe until he saw Jesus. The others just saw Jesus first. The gospel didn’t get started, Jesus didn’t get proclaimed because of a lot of wishful thinking and have success because people were backwards and superstitious. These people saw evidence that convinced them Jesus rose from the dead. They saw the kind of evidence it would take us to believe it as well. Then they recorded it and recorded what came from it. Praise God for showing us Thomas’s doubt. Maybe it wasn’t his greatest moment. But it is a great moment for us. Thank you, Thomas. Thank you, Lord.

Monday’s reading is John 21.

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