Monday, February 7, 2011

A Growing Mission

Acts 18:2 (NLT)
... They had left Italy when Claudius Caesar deported all Jews from Rome.

- By including details Like this Luke makes it possible to connect his story to the timeline of history and our current dating system, (which did not exist when he wrote.)

Acts 18:6 (NLT)
But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, "Your blood is upon your own heads-I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles."

- A shifting emphasis in Paul's mission now as Jewish followers of God are less responsive to Paul's message than are the non-Jewish converts to Judaism. Paul's preaching is still centered around the synagogue, and he is still appealing mainly to converts to Judaism.

Acts 18:13 (NLT)
They accused Paul of "persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our law."

- We see the growing rift between Jews following the traditions of the faith, and those Jews who accept Jesus as the Messiah and divine son of God, and are beginning to 'get' all that this implies.

We also encounter some potential confusion linguistically about who the new Christians are, as some seem to be cultural Jews (from various deportations from Judea over the years), while others are culturally non-Jews (mainly Greeks in this region, I presume.)

Acts 18:15 (NLT)
But since it is merely a question of words and names and your Jewish law, take care of it yourselves. I refuse to judge such matters."

- To an outsider, the differences between Jews and Followers of Jesus seem inconsequential.

Acts 18:18 (NLT)
... There he shaved his head according to Jewish custom, marking the end of a vow.

- It's curious that Luke reports this without having mentioned the time when this vow began or the reason for it. It sounds like a Nazarite vow, described in the Old Testament.

Acts 18:24 (NLT)
Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt.

- A strong Jewish community existed in Egypt, at Alexandria, for many centuries by then. If Apollos was born there, it's interesting that his Greek name shows the influence of Hellenization all around the Mediteranean.

Acts 18:28 (NLT)
... Using the Scriptures, he explained to them that Jesus was the Messiah.

- His mission and method seem very similar to Paul's.

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