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Posts Tagged ‘Jew’

Verses 22b: “”…I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

Little Bird loved to sing, especially Christmas carols. During December, she would greet the members of the church (whose bell tower her nest resided in) with carol after carol as soon as the sun rose. Most all the members appreciated Little Bird’s carols. She not only sang to put people in the Christmas spirit, but did it as her way of worshipping the Creator, especially at this time of year. Not too long after the Christmas season started, Frankie the owl swooped by after his nightly rounds to chat with her.

He made Little Bird aware of an older man who lived across from the church. This older man lived alone, had to work 6 days a week, and was only able to sleep late on Sundays. Frankie also knew the man didn’t know the Creator in a personal way. His sleep was being disturbed by Little Bird’s early singing, and Frankie was concerned this might drive him further away from wanting to know the Creator in a personal way.

Little Bird was crestfallen. As much as she loved to sing, she certainly didn’t want to keep anyone from knowing Christ in a personal way. But her very nature was to sing; after all, she was a songbird. Frankie provided wise counsel: “Why don’t you just start later in the morning when the man wakes up? You can still sing, just not so early.”

So Little Bird did the unusual thing for a songbird to do; she didn’t sing before mid-morning from then on. She would perch on a branch outside the man’s window and keep watch while he slept. When he would awake, she would chirp a few notes quietly to see the man’s reaction. In most cases, having gotten the sleep he needed, he would smile and “tweet” back to Little Bird. She then would begin singing her Christmas carols happily.

Paul is continuing his message to the Corinthians by stating that even though he is a free man and has certain rights, he gives up those rights to reach people for Christ. “…to the Jews, I became as a Jew…to those under the law, as under the law…to the weak I became as weak…” Paul was sensitive to the audiences that he might reach for Christ, and thus would accommodate his audience (without compromising Christ’s law…let me reiterate what Paul stressed here), in order to reach them, not push them away by his behavior or clinging to his cultural norms.

How about you, Christian? Aren’t there audiences you can reach today outside of the church building? How about co-workers? How about your neighbors? How about those who you engage in hobbies or sports with? Our God wants to build relationships with them too…it just might mean you reach out in a way that you’re not accustomed to.

Something to think about.

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Verse 28: “Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian”.”

Have you seen the Snickers commercial where the stadium technician is painstakingly painting the end-zone with the logo of the team, while the team is practicing? He is drawing each letter with precision detail with spray nozzle, paintbrush, and powder cart; he finally stands up to admire his handiwork after several hours. A football player walks by and says “Hey, that’s great…the Chefs!” Then the realization dawns on him that the team is called the Chiefs. In that awkward moment that he realizes he has to tear down and re-do what took hours to do in the first place, you hear the narrator state, “Not going anywhere for a while? Grab a Snickers!”

King Agrippa is not going anywhere at the moment; he must give a reply. Paul continues his argument with the rhetorical question, “do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” King Agrippa is a good Jew, but he is also a wise politician. I read several Holman sources (Bible and concordance) for background on this. When I was a child, I first read the above verse thinking Agrippa had accepted Paul’s witness and became a Christian. The background research seems to suggest that Agrippa was in a bind; he couldn’t disagree with Paul’s references to Jewish history and the prophets, but yet he didn’t want to appear that he was siding with Paul and possibly lose some political credibility. Thus, he answered in the non-committal reply in verse 28.

Paul continues that he wishes Agrippa and all others in earshot would become like him in this aspect: a follower of Christ…to become just like him, except for the chains.

Always be on the lookout for open door opportunities to witness for our Savior, fellow Christian, no matter how great or how small.

Something to think about.

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Verse 3: “Paul wanted to have him go with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek.”

In the Saturday morning series Star Trek: The Animated Series, there was an episode entitled “Yesteryear”, in which we learn more about Mr. Spock’s childhood. As a child, he would soon have to undergo the maturity test known as the kahs-wan, in which he chooses his life’s path during a survival test. Because Spock’s father was Vulcan and his mother was a human Terran, Spock had a harder struggle with this than most Vulcan boys. Part of this episode had the grown Spock, playing the time-tossed role of a cousin named Selek, rescuing young Spock in the desert, as well as counseling him (young Spock undertook his own personal test before the kahs-wan, to see if he could succeed). Young Spock emerged from his personal test successfully; furthermore, he determined to choose the Vulcan way of life, which set him on the path his future self already knew of.

In today’s passage, Paul has met young Timothy and wishes to take the young man with him on his second missionary journey. Before they leave, Paul, who served as mentor to the young Timothy, had him circumcised in accordance with Jewish custom. Wait, you might say…didn’t Paul just lead a quest in the recent Jerusalem council to ensure that Gentile converts didn’t have to be circumcised like Jews? Yes, he did; but remember here, Timothy was raised a Jew. His mother was Jewish, although his father was Greek. To avoid giving any Jewish opposition any foothold against their mission, he advised Timothy to be circumcised. Paul was first and foremost a Christian, but he did follow Jewish tradition. You might see this parallel as when parents who go to a certain church, rear their children to attend the same church as well, instructing them in its customs and traditions. The children eventually will have to make their own choices, of course.

In today’s world, like that of the New Testament, people had a choice to make regarding their future. For those who have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you have a choice. You can reject it and choose the world, or you can accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and live this life on Earth for Him…and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

What choice will you make?

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