Tuesday, January 15, 2013

SCMR - Ordinary Folks Making an Extraordinary Difference

SCMR - Simple Church Meeting Reflections - Jan. 13, 2013

Today's focus of our simple church gathering was Acts 4:11-12:

11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’

12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

(The first part is actually a quote taken from Psalm 118:22.) We spent some time reflecting on the context of the entire Acts 4 passage.

 A Real Story about Real People

I love how Scripture blends enormous, supernatural truths with the authentic and raw humanity of real people. The central focus of Acts 4 is the point that Jesus is the Healer and Savior, but this truth isn't presented in a vacuum. We learn it in the midst of genuine human circumstances and feelings.

It is good to continually be reminded that God will not fit in our boxes. In this passage, I notice that it is the religious leaders that are "greatly disturbed" by the teaching that there is resurrection of the dead in Jesus (verse 2). The people who spent their careers defining God had no clue about Him at all! But the best part is in verse 13, when the realization strikes the priests that the miracle workers of God are "unschooled, ordinary men." It leaves the observers astonished. The only prerequisite that qualified Peter and John for their ministry was that "these men had been with Jesus."

One of my concerns about Bible study and preaching today is how often people move from description to prescription in cases where it is not warranted. They see something happen in biblical history, and therefore, conclude it must be a mandate for everyone at all times. In this case, here is a description of an event where the learned, religious leaders were astonished not only at what God did through ordinary, unschooled men, but also by the fact that He would use these kinds of folks at all. The neat thing about the New Testament is that this is just one of many stories where Jesus operates this way. While this one case is just one event described in the Bible, there is enough of a pattern to see that this is a prescription for how God interacts with the human race. He consistently uses the weaker, less popular, alienated, poorer, and less trained people to carry out the greatest parts of His plan to redeem the world!

Sure, there are cases where God uses those in power to bring about change for holy purposes, but His MO of working with and through ordinary people of all ages, races, sizes, and backgrounds gives us all hope of being "participants in the divine nature." It is glorious! It is Good News!

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