Saturday, March 7, 2015

Daily Lenten Post, Day 15 (A Day Late)

I didn't get this typed up yesterday, but here's what I read...

Acts 20:1-6--Paul visits Macedonia and Greece
Reading about all of Paul's travel makes you wonder if they had frequent sail-er miles! I still wonder who the "we" is that he left without, but I don't think Acts ever tells us. From this passage, we know it's more than one person other than Paul, and they went somewhere different from Paul, then met back up at Troas. Very interesting...

Acts 20:7-12--Meeting with believers in Troas
This story is just crazy. Seriously. What on earth is going on here?? First of all, Paul could stay up and teach all night? And only one guy fell asleep? Wow! And then the one guy who does fall asleep (and my study Bible says something about deep sleep as a "perilous sign of inattentiveness"...hmm...) falls out the window and dies!! Paul doesn't get upset, though; he just goes outside and gets down on top the guy, says he's alive, and then goes back up and eats and talks until daybreak--no big deal. And people say the Bible isn't interesting! Wow.

Acts 20:13-36--Farewell to the Ephesian leaders
I like that this passage gives us insight into Paul's interaction with others and tells us his heart for following Christ. Even though his writing can get sort of irritating because he seems to have a very healthy ego, here in Acts we get a sense that he really does mean it when he says that he's not the center, Christ is. Would I have gone to Jerusalem, if I had the same sense of foreboding? How many of us would go through what Paul went through?

Paul's farewell speech to the Ephesian leaders is a really serious speech, and I bet the leaders weren't too terribly happy to have all of the warnings about what they might go through for their faith (verses 28-31). That their emotional leave-taking is recorded is kind of cool.

Verse 35 is very interesting: "In everything I have shown you that, by working hard, we must help the weak." This is not what a lot of people believe scripture says, I think. Isn't this the opposite of the old saying, "God helps those who help themselves"? It seems to me that a lot of people would much rather that saying were in the Bible, which it's not, than the other, which is directly from Paul. (And we get a lot of our theology from Paul, not from Jesus, as I guess we might realize from the fact that so many know the statement, "It's better to give than to receive," which Paul tells us Jesus said, even though it's not in the gospels.) What do we think about working hard, to help the weak? In some ways, we are willing to do that, but I think we qualify who is "weak" and why, before we'll work to help them. I guess I don't know for sure what Paul meant by the statement, but it's worth considering further.

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