The crowd listened to Paul until he said this (“Go. I will send you far away to the Gentiles.”) Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him? He’s not fit to live!” As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this.
God chose the Jewish nation to spread His love. Instead of answering that call, they chose to exclude, wanting God’s blessings only for themselves. They couldn’t imagine God would reach out to the Gentiles, people they thought were inferior and hated, so the mob loudly protested when Paul said the Lord sent him to the Gentiles to welcome them into God’s family.
To the Jews, letting outsiders into God’s circle or the inner rooms of the temple was a crime punishable by death. The commander ordered that Paul be flogged so he would confess to his crime. Since the whip had bones and metal tied to it, many times the forty lashes was a death sentence.
Our bond with Jesus deepens when we spread His love, especially to people who are different from us. The good feeling you get when you help someone is God saying, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Writing my blog helps me feel closer to Jesus. But in a week when I go to Universal Studios in Orlando, I’ll probably only blog once. Since I’ll be around a lot of people, I’ll make of point of being kind and looking for someone to help to strengthen my bond with Him. My life is so much better when I’m close to Jesus.
Father, I praise you for the bond between me and Jesus. Keep me and my loved ones safe from tragedy and people who don’t like us and bind us closer to You. In Jesus’ precious and holy name, I pray. Amen.