by Georgie Schuster
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‘Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent’ (Acts 13:26).
Here, Paul is given an invitation to speak a word of encouragement to the people. The gathering included both Jews and Gentile believers. And Paul didn’t mince his words.
He called out his people’s inability to recognise the promised Messiah and the way they had him executed. He shared how this had been foretold by the prophets. He made it known that God raised Jesus from the dead and that he was seen over the course of many days by several people. Paul encouraged the crowd as he declared the good news, the message of salvation: ‘What God promised our ancestors, he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.’
Did the Jews wince as they heard of their failings? Or did a light shine inside them as all the puzzle pieces from the prophets they had heard growing up suddenly began to fit together and make sense? How did the Gentile believers receive this news? Did they look sideways at those they stood beside and think judgemental thoughts? ‘You had all these clues and you didn’t get it?’ Or did their hearts start to warm inside as they rejoiced that God had sent Jesus to save them?
God’s plan of salvation was difficult to fathom. It caught, well, everyone off guard. But it levelled the field. Jesus paid the price for all of our sins, for Jews, Gentiles, you and me. He rose victorious, and we have new life in him!
Like those people long ago, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent!
Dear Father, fill us with courage. Help us encourage others with hope as we share the good news of Easter and what it means to everyone! In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.