In this week’s readings we’re continuing our journey through Acts and Zechariah.
In Acts the whirlwind tour of the early church continues with Saul’s famous, and dramatic conversion followed by the courage and obedience Ananias who boldly follows the call of God to spend time with Saul and baptise him. What courage that must have been to go and follow the call of God to spend time with a man who was feared by all Jesus followers!
In our passages in Zechariah we see lots of prophecies about the nations coming to Jerusalem, God protecting and encouraging the Jewish remnant, and even some very precise prophecies that were fulfilled by Christ as he came into Jerusalem on a donkey. But it’s the parallels between the nations coming to Jerusalem and Peter realising that God doesn’t show favouritism and that the gospel is for all, Jew and Gentile that stick out in this week’s reading for me. The Lord promises to bless Jerusalem in Zechariah by people from all cities coming to Jerusalem, and Peter sees this happening before him. Peter sees the Holy Spirit poured out over the Gentiles and he worships God and baptises them all.
This is where the explosion of the gospel to all lands really gets going, Cypriots and Greeks start hearing about Jesus from Peter, before Barnabus and Paul head off to preach to Gentiles.
There are lots of small details in both sections of scripture, allow yourself time to see what’s going on, but not at the expense of seeing the broader sweep of both sections and particularly this week how they interlink.
Here are some questions to be thinking of as you read this week.
- Do you have the courage, like Ananias, to obey the hard calls of God?
- Do you show justice, mercy and compassion to one another? Who are the widow, the fatherless, the alien and the poor around where you are? (Zechariah 7:8-10)
- It’s a long time between Zechariah’s prophecies and Peter’s realisation, do you have the perseverance to pray for the long-term? Or do you get annoyed if God doesn’t answer immediately?