Wednesday in the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 13:44-48

The Gentiles Rejoice

We read yesterday that upon hearing Paul’s sermon in the synagogue declaring Jesus of Nazareth to be the long-awaited Christ, the people begged that they might hear of these matters again the next Sabbath.  We also read that “many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas,” implying that they believed.  Apparently the preaching of the Gospel created quite a stir for the on next Sabbath “the whole city gathered to hear the word of God.”  But as is often the case when many people turn to hear a new speaker, others become jealous and begin to speak against the upstart.  So the Jews did.  This brought a stinging rebuke from Paul and Barnabas: “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you.  Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.  For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”  (The passage is cited from Isaiah 49:6.)

From here we read two wonderful things.  First, that “when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord.”  It seems that the Gentiles were waiting for just this revelation – the revelation that God had sent His Son Jesus to save them, too, from their sins.  Salvation is from the Jews (John 4:22), and as the covenant people, and as Paul and Barnabas affirmed, they must hear the Gospel message first.  But after that hearing, the Gentiles are awarded their opportunity, for the promise to Abraham was that through him all the families of the earth should be blessed (Genesis 12:3).  This is why Jesus sent his apostles to all the nations, that they may be his witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8).  The plan was always universal – to all the nations.

And yet, that plan has always been particular, for the next line reads: “And as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”  Please note the order: those who believed were not thus appointed to eternal life, but those appointed to eternal life believed.  God has graciously chosen myriads from every tongue and nation scattered abroad upon the earth.  Through the drawing and convicting power of the Holy Spirit, the Father continues to make a heavenly Pentecost out of our worldly Babel bringing “a great multitude that no one [can] number” to the foot of the cross (Revelation 7:9).  This is why sharing our faith shouldn’t be so scary; God has many out there just waiting to “rejoice and glorify the word of the Lord.”

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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