Sunday, February 16, 2020

Paul's Breath-taking Journey to share the Good News

Acts 13:1-16 by Rev. David L.S. Robertson
Series:From Disciple to Apostle - A Journey through the Book of Acts

10,000 miles. That’s the estimated distance that Paul travelled during his ministry. 10,000 miles… that’s not quite half-way around the planet. It’s remarkable given Paul’s era, and even more significant given how fast and how far the good news of God’s love in the resurrected Jesus was spreading throughout the world. The Acts of the Apostles and their ministry to the Jewish and Gentile world is dramatic. There is all manner of amazing and wondrous stories of God’s Spirit at work. Pivotal of course, is the conversion of Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, into the Christian community. The significance of that event has quite the ripple affect across the region. But, so do transactions like the one we read about today, where Paul confronts a magician who has been trying to sway the proconsul into the realm of sorcery. To be fair, it was not uncommon for sophisticated Romans to employ astrologers and sorcerers in order to help them make wise decisions. It was part of the cultural practice and commonly accepted. Paul was not amused by the sorcerer’s intent to draw Sergius Paulus away from God. In this transaction there’s an echo back to the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel to see whose god has the most power. By God’s Spirit at work in Paul, the sorcerer Bar-Jesus is proven to be a fake. It does not go well for him as he is reduced to a stumbling and bumbling fool groping for a hand to lead him. The imagery is quite intentional. The proconsul Sergius Paulus is converted—curiously not so much by the event, but by the teaching about the Lord. (William Willimon, Acts: Interpretation, pp. 122-123) Paul’s journey continues at a breathtaking pace.
Duration:14 mins 50 secs