(Friends…today’s DL is from my friend and pastor of 44 years, David N. David uses the S.O.A.P. method in his daily devotion time…Study, Observe, Apply, Pray. Thank you David for using God’s gift and calling on your life to teach, train and open God’s word to me. You have been such a faithful source of ‘light’ to me. Thank you. dh)
Acts 28:17-31 The hope of the Kingdom
28:17 Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar. I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” …
23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. … 30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! NIV
For two whole years Paul explained why he was arrested – “because of the hope of Israel.” What was it that all Israel hoped for? The Messiah! (“Your Kingdom come …”)Paul carefully taught the OT to show that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies and was “the stone” Israel rejected, but also the One God said would be “the cornerstone”. He summarized his message as about “the Kingdom of God”.
As Americans we don’t understand or think about the Kingdom of God. We think of Jesus as our Savior and Friend more than we do as our King. Paul certainly taught the gospel of Grace and in no way believed we earn our salvation. But the Savior he proclaimed is the Creator and Lord of the universe. To “accept Jesus as Savior” without bowing to Him as LORD/King was to re-define the Jesus of the Bible and make Him a god of their own imagination. And we do the same thing. We value our independence and making our own decisions so much that we are very uncomfortable thinking that we should submit to Him as LORD and King.
Dear Savior and Messiah Jesus, I worship You as the Creator of everything with the right to rule as absolute despot over my life. I praise You as the most wonderful Sovereign there could be, and see it as a privilege to submit to Your perfect love and plan for my life, but sometimes I still don’t want to give up my will. Thank You for Your understanding and grace, but please keep drawing my heart to recognize and submit to You in every situation. And as I explain the beauty of grace to others, help me make clear that You, the God of all grace, are also the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Amen.