Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. (Acts 19:8-10)
God has plans to draw His children closer. Have you considered the mystery of Jews not accepting Jesus as the Messiah when the Old Testament perfectly describes His life, death, and resurrection? Paul reveals a slice of the secret. “I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ.” (Romans 11:25)
God hardened Jewish hearts so they became obstinate and refused to listen and believe. Paul and other evangelists were forced to stop preaching to the Jews and tell non-Jews about Jesus. When the full number of Gentiles enter God’s kingdom, He will soften Jewish hearts.
The Gentiles were so excited to have Jesus save them from wrongdoings and negative emotions that in two years and three months, they spread the Gospel to everyone in the province of Asia, at that time an area the size of California.
Are we as excited about Jesus as the early Christians were? In this Christmas season as you decorate, shop, carol, bake, and wrap are you eager about spreading God’s love and giving Jesus the glory He deserves or are you in a conundrum wondering how you’ll get everything done? If you’re the latter, ask God to soften your heart and do less. Do what you can with joy so others will want the happiness that having a Savior brings.
Father, I praise you for sending Jesus to save me. Let me celebrate with a song in my heart and love for each person you’ve given me. Soften my heart. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.