“26 “Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.” Acts 13.26-30
The content of Saul’s Sermon is worth noting for it is the Gospel message itself. He’s communicating this to the Jews that the message of salvation has been sent to them as children of Abraham. The people “did not recognize Jesus” and even condemned and fulfilled the word of the prophets “read every Sabbath,” namely Isaiah.
Saul/Paul says they 1) found no proper ground for a sentence, 2) asked Pilate to have him executed, 3) took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. For many, this was the first time they heard these words! But fortunately, it doesn’t stop here — for “God raised him from the dead!” Good news indeed. And in addition, Saul proclaims, “for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now witnesses to our people.”
The message of Christ is passed down just like this from generation to generation. From one to another, the story is told anew. The story is communicated with grace, conviction and regularity. Everything we do is so that the story might be told, people might find life and God might receive glory.
This weekend I hosted a small leadership retreat at our ranch. It was for the Revive Lead Team. Revive is the non profit Wesleyan renewal retreat and camping ministry I help oversee (revivetexas.org). There were fifteen 16 to 21 year olds being prepped for the next round of youth camps and retreats. As I found myself sharing in worship on Sunday morning, I recognized three generations of Christians in the group. I was the oldest, then those in the thirty age category who grew up in the camps, and then those who were on our Lead Team.
I was passing down that knowledge and grace which I had received both as a child and as a teen which led me to say yes to Jesus. I mentioned that God chooses to use us in his plan. He doesn’t need us, but wants us to be ambassadors of his peace and love. So what was happening at this retreat was not unlike what Saul/Paul was preaching two thousand years ago. The batton was being handed from one generation to the next.
We are invited to be a part of this tremendous story, of this act of sharing, of this gift of giving. We are called, each of us, to tell others the good news of Christ and to help raise up the next generation of leaders.
Will you look for opportunities to join Jesus today in bringing salvation to others? Will you be his hands, feet and voice to a world in need of his love and grace?
“O Lord God, I get so stressed about my work! About the planning, calendaring, details and strategy. But it was never “my work” in the first place. I am but a servant of the Most High. I lay the responsibilities back on you God. I chose not to take them up. I will do what I can and enjoy the journey. I will celebrate, laugh and cry. I will rejoice, dance and sing. I will do what you have called me to do but know that it’s not about my abilities but your power. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen