They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of our people who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.” They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. (Acts 28:21-24)
Growing up, we went to church and Sunday school almost every week. We studied Old Testament stories to increase our moral compasses, learned that Jesus died to forgive our sins, and learned that Jesus loved us. When I became an adolescent, I believed that Jesus protected little children, but maybe not snotty middle schoolers and high schoolers. Who could be expected to love them?
In High School, I learned that God wanted me to have a personal relationship with him through Jesus, but I had to abide by too many rules. When my marriage went bad, I couldn’t keep them, and many of my Christian friends abandoned me. After I married and had children, I returned to the church and discovered that Jesus loves me unconditionally. Even when I sin on purpose, Jesus forgives me. I don’t want to disappoint him, but he created me imperfectly, so I would need a savior. Throughout my life, I have revised what I believe about Jesus.
I’ve worked on deepening my relationship with God through prayer and Bible Study. How I wish I could’ve been present when Paul witnessed to the Jews from morning till evening when he told them about Jesus, explained the kingdom of God, and answered questions. In one day, I might’ve learned what I have in a lifetime, and my relationship with God would be closer.
That day Paul asked the Jews to examine their beliefs by looking at the Old Testament prophecy that pointed to Jesus. He witnessed to them about his loving relationship with Jesus and what he had learned from him.
In our study of Acts, we’ve learned much of what Paul taught that day. I hope through this study you’ve re-examined your faith to know how deep God’s love is for you, how he wants to listen to your prayers as often as possible, that he wants to do more for you than your earthly father is capable of, and that he wants to take your burdens while you live your best life and follow his will to fulfill your dreams.
Father, I praise you for the Bible, so I can revise my beliefs while our relationship deepens. I pray for Jewish people to realize Jesus is their Messiah, for those who believe in you but don’t realize they’re the apple of your eye and want the closest of relationships with them, and for myself to come closer to you and follow my dreams with your power. If my beliefs need revision, give me the wisdom to change them. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.