Todays readings… Deuteronomy 21, Song of Solomon 1, Acts 13
“… SALVATION TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH”
Today God’s message of “salvation” has reached “to the ends of the earth.” This word occurs 6 times in the book of Acts. Paul, early in his missionary journeys (with Barnabas) began to preach the “good news about the kingdom of God” [Acts 8 v.12]. We read today in Acts ch. 13, how, when the Jews in “the synagogue” [v.14] asked Paul if he had “any word of encouragement for the people, (to) say it.” [v.15]- that they were offended at Paul’s message when he said that through Jesus (instead of their Law) “forgiveness of sins is proclaimed.” [v.38].
Paul warned that their attitude was fulfilling “what is said in the prophets” [v.40] Paul quoted – ‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.'” [from Habakkuk 1 v.5] How few know the words of the prophets these days, let alone quote them!
As a result of this Paul started to preach to those who were not Jews, this is, the Gentiles. His final message to the Jews was straight to the point. “Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.” [v.46]
Paul then said, “For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” [v.47].
To truly rejoice, as they did then, we have to know the original gospel as Paul and Barnabas preached it, and we have ample evidence of what this was as we read on in the book of Acts and the letters of Paul and the other disciples. And today it seems clear that the message of “salvation” has reached “the ends of the earth.”
Those who have receptive minds as a result of their reading and hearing the original truth preached, will have the same experience. Are you experiencing, or have you experienced what we read in v. 48? This is the blessing of “rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord” and then “as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” [v.48 ]