Step #1: Lectio / Read
On the following sabbath
almost the whole city
gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”
The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Are you a picky evangelizer?
One of the biggest controversies that the early Church stirred up was that salvation wasn't just for the Jews. For a long time the Jewish people believed that they were God's special people and no one else could be saved. The early Church comes along not only saying that you can have eternal life in this guy Jesus, but you don't even have to be a Jew! When Paul and Barnabas talk about "Gentiles" in today's passage, they're talking about non-Jews.
My favorite part of this passage is, "The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord" (Acts 13:48). Plot twist! For so long, everyone thought that salvation was only for the Jews. And even if non-Jews could be saved, who expected those evil, heathen, close-minded Gentiles to actually accept that gift with joy?
So who are you in today's passage?
Are you like the Jews of that time, unwilling to accept that the Gentiles could be saved? Are you a picky evangelizer? Do you find yourself thinking that some people are undeserving of your testimony because you figure they probably wouldn't accept Christ into their life even if they had the chance? Maybe you don't share your faith with those who aren't nice to you or whose sinful lifestyle intimidates you?
Are you like Paul and Barnabas who offered their witness and testimony to anyone who would listen? Because of this, "the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region." Do you strive to share your faith not only with those who are "likely candidates," but especially with those who need the love of mercy of Jesus the most in their lives?
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
"The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord."
Heavenly Father, am I too picky about who I share my faith with?
Father, what preconceived notions do I have about who can and cannot be saved by your grace?
Jesus, reveal to me the people in my life who need your love the most. Fill my heart with love for each of them.
Holy Spirit, give me courage to carry the Good News to every person I meet, regardless of whether I believe they'll accept you or not.
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"Make me an instrument of your salvation."
"I delight in your salvation, Lord."
"Fill me with joy and your Holy Spirit."
For the Rest of Your DAy...
Try not to be so picky today. Choose at least one person today who you normally wouldn't share your faith with. Make an extra effort to reach out to them in love.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Dan Wolff.