Although Paul was an apostle, it was proper for him not to take hospitality for granted, and he waited until Lydia insisted. Similarly, when Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee, he ignored the apostles until they called out to him, “Master, save us!” (Mark 6:48-51).
Posts Tagged ‘ synagogue ’
The Epistle to Philemon begins with just a plain address, so some consider it to be a personal, private letter. Then the question might be asked, Why was it included in the Sacred Canon? Not only did the Lord in His providence so overrule matters, but the epistle contains a lot of meaty thought.
The suggestion to appoint seven deacons pleased the whole multitude because the dispute over the widows was factional. Of the seven who were chosen, Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,” was highly commended. Philip, who was from Caesarea, was probably the evangelist who intercepted the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 21:8). Nicolas was a proselyte from Antioch, where the word “Christian” was first used (Acts 11:26). According to tradition, the Nicolaitan doctrine started with this deacon. Antioch was an important location, from which Paul and Barnabas often began and ended their journeys.
Pilate’s reluctance to put Jesus to death is reminiscent of Herod with John the Baptist and of Darius with Daniel concerning the lions’ den. Herod did not expect John the Baptist’s head to be requested when Salome was offered a reward for dancing. Pilate did not expect Barabbas to be released when he mentioned the custom. Of course there will be some exceptions at the end of the age, but generally speaking, the civil authorities will be reluctant to prosecute the feet members. The fact that Pilate did try to dispense justice is shown by his publicly washing his hands (Matt. 27:24).
From another standpoint, as each of Jesus’ followers dies through persecution, illness, or whatever, he experiences his own personal “night” of trouble. At the end of the age, when the feet members are put to death, the general public at large will also feel a loss, for the preservative quality of the “salt” will be gone from the earth.
IN THIS narrative a believing Gentile is brought to our attention whose faith and humility are worthy of imitation. An officer among the Roman soldiers on duty in Palestine, he had come in contact with God’s people and law and from these had learned something of the righteousness of God, of his wonderful leading and teaching of his people, and of the promises given to them. Evidently these things had awakened in him feelings of reverence for God and love for righteousness and truth. These sentiments towards the God of Israel found expression in special kindness toward His people; and, being a man of means, he had built a synagogue for some of them.
Felix had put Paul under house arrest, hoping to get a bribe, but the bribe was not forthcoming. Festus could have released Paul for lack of evidence but did not do so. Now fact gathering was again attempted, and evidence was lacking. Paul was playing into the hands of providence, which indicated he was to go to Rome. While under prison house arrest, he had had two to three years to analyze the circumstance and what God’s will was for him. In determining providence and the meaning of the experience, he realized the Lord wanted him to go to Rome, and he knew the surest way to get free passage was to appeal his case to Caesar and go as a prisoner.
Notice, the one who had so boldly proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah—and who had been instructed by God that the one upon whom the dove alighted at the time of baptism was Messiah—now, in prison, questioned whether Jesus was truly the Messiah. What is the lesson? Even the most faithful of the Lord’s people can have moments of discouragement when they are tested to the core, but they receive a strengthening subsequently if they do not ive in to the testing and surrender their faith. Another lesson: When God puts something on our heart to do, we should do it—regardless of who the person is. John rebuked Herod and ended up in prison. We may have a similar experience.
The two parables tie in with these subsequent verses. The nominal Church will seem to be very large, but in the final analysis, few will get life as a result of the Gospel Age. The disciples got the point and one asked, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” The answer was yes in regard to the high calling—and even in regard to the Great Company compared to the vast majority of tares in the nominal Church. The disciples realized the mustard seed and the leaven were unfavorable.
Jesus was en route to Jerusalem when this question was asked. He replied, “Strive [agonize] to enter in at the strait [narrow] gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Athletes who excel agonize in their sport because they push themselves to the very limit. The “many” who will not be able to enter in are the majority. This is especially true in principle in the beginning when the Adversary tries to discourage consecration and entering the race for the prize of the high calling.
Verses 24-30 are a reminder of the Wise and Foolish Virgins Parable. Jesus did not answer the question (verse 23) directly but gave a parable, implying that few would be saved. If the question and parable are considered from the standpoint of the feet members and the end of the Church’s course, the entering in would pertain to the marriage. There is a hard test in the beginning of our consecrated walk as well as toward the end. For example, Abraham had to leave his home country in the beginning, and later he had a severe test with Isaac.
An agonizing attitude is necessary to get through the narrow gate or aperture and thus make our calling and election sure. Jesus was referring to getting the prize of the high calling, to the marriage—to glory, honor, and immortality. The agonizing attitude must be maintained and preserved.
In the United States, prisons play a role in homegrown terror cells, according to experts. The phenomenon of converting inmates to radical brands of Islam was documented in 2004, when a Justice Department investigation concluded that Al-Qaida was recruiting prison inmates. The investigation found that safeguards at more than 100 federal prisons were too loose, causing chapels there to be vulnerable to infiltration by religious extremists.