Acts 14 - When signs and wonders prepare the way
In this season of 21 days prayer and fasting we are reading some Old and New Testament passages on the theme of revival, a chapter a day. It is best to read out loud together with family or friends or a Life Group etc. so we can share thoughts and pray together about the passage. Each day this blog shares a short thought from the chapter, a key verse to focus on (and maybe to memorise) and some pointers in prayer.
Revival brings opposition and miracles.
There is a dramatic welcome in Lystra and then Jews stir up the people so much that Paul is stoned. In those days people knew how to kill animals for food and people as punishment. It is unlikely that Paul was still alive when the disciples came around his limp, broken and bleeding body to pray. What we see is resurrection life: he was brought back from the dead in a dramatic miracle.
So we see the highs and lows of being a faithful witness. And even if the circumstances and the events are different in our lives, we must expect the same mix of miracles and opposition.
Paul actually went back to the place he had been stoned! That takes a courage that does not come from human resources but only from the Holy Spirit! We have to determine to do the right thing but God shows us what is right and gives us grace to do it.
But what does it mean that we enter the kingdom through many tribulations or sufferings (verse 22)? Jesus proclaimed the kingdom is among us and that it is coming. Theologians talk of the “Now and not yet” nature of the coming kingdom. We see signs of it but we do not see it fully revealed yet, because we live in the overlap of two ages.
The kingdom comes more and more in us and through us as we pray, live in godly way and make right choices, including a choice to to go back to a place of suffering because we know we are called to go there.
We entered the kingdom when we responded to God with repentance and water baptism.
We are entering the kingdom as we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us.
And we shall enter the kingdom fully when Jesus returns and brings it to completion.
do I ask God to show me the miracles He will do through me/us? Let’s ask to see more clearly what the Father is doing.
For our community
that we will have God’s love in us to love and forgive people, especially if they hate or misunderstand us
For the world
for the Kingdom to come increasingly in our city and region and across the world.
‘There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to stay in the faith, saying “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.” ’