Acts 13 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“Therefore, let it be known to you, brothers, that through this man (Yeshua) forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you, and everyone who believes in Him is justified from everything, which you could not be justified from through the Torah of Moses. So beware that what is said in the prophets does not happen to you: ‘Look, you scoffers, marvel and vanish away, because I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will never believe, even if someone were to explain it to you.’ As they were leaving, the Jews and G_d fearing Gentiles begged that these matters be presented to them the following Sabbath. After the synagogue had been dismissed, many of the Jews and devout Gentile proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking with them and persuading them to continue in the grace of G_d.” Acts 13:38-43
Today’s chapter marks a distinct change in Paul’s ministry. He (along with Barnabas) begins fulfilling his calling as “the Apostle to the Gentiles”. Henceforth, in Scripture Paul ceases to be referred-to as “Saul”.
In Acts 10, we were presented with the first recorded Gentile, who converted to follow Messiah Yeshua after His resurrection: The Roman Centurian, Cornelius. Cornelius was described as a “devout man”. This is a description of a Gentile who had not converted to Judaism, but was devoutly following the forms of the religion.
There is an assumption among most “Christians” that Jews were not allowed to associate with Gentiles on any level. While close affiliations and friendships with Gentiles raised suspicions among the Jewish community, in fact, Gentiles “who were seeking G_d” were welcome in synagogues. The Temple in Jerusalem had a “Court of the Gentiles”.
David H. Stern, in his “Complete Jewish New Testament Commentary” describes Paul’s method of reaching Gentiles: “Besides Sha’ul’s (Paul’s) conviction that it was right to present the Gospel first to Jews, he knew that it was in the synagogues where he would find the Gentiles most likely to be responsive, since “proselytes of the gate” were already interested in the One true G_d. One aspect of communicating the gospel consists of determining which people are likely to respond favorably to it.”
Some followers of Messiah believe that the Messianic community is only “preaching to the choir”. They would suggest we take a more radical strategy, abandon the traditional congregation, and go deeper into the World with more extreme ministry endeavors. I believe this strategy, while noble on the outset, neglects an obvious truth: Non-believers attend Messianic congregations! And they are seeking to believe!! At Harvest Christian Fellowship, over 4000 people come to faith each year in their various weekly services.
That is a challenge to ANY congregation seeking to share the gospel of Yeshua. They are using Paul’s method and it works in today’s world. He went first, to the places where people are already asking the right questions…the places of devout worship.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Tuesday, July 30, 2013