Readings: April 21, 2013 4th Sunday of Easter

  • Acts 13:14-52

Don’t Take This Lightly

Paul and company put out to sea, traveling on to Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath they went to the meeting place and took their places.  A good many Jews and converts to Judaism went along with Paul and Barnabas, who urged them in long conversations to stick with what they’d started, this living in and by God’s grace.

When the next Sabbath came around, practically the whole city showed up to hear the Word of God. Some of the Jews, seeing the crowds, went wild with jealousy and tore into Paul, contradicting everything he was saying, making an ugly scene.

But Paul and Barnabas didn’t back down. Standing their ground they said, “It was required that God’s Word be spoken first of all to you, the Jews. But seeing that you want no part of it, you’ve made it quite clear that you have no taste or inclination for eternal life, the door is open to all the outsiders. And we’re on our way through it, following orders, doing what God commanded when he said, I’ve set you up as light to all nations. You’ll proclaim salvation to the four winds and seven seas!”

When the non-Jewish outsiders heard this, they could hardly believe their good fortune. All who were marked out for /real life/ put their trust in God. They honored God’s Word by receiving that life. And this Message of salvation spread like wildfire all through the region.

Some of the Jews convinced the most respected women and leading men of the town that their precious way of life was about to be destroyed. Alarmed, they turned on Paul and Barnabas and forced them to leave. Paul and Barnabas shrugged their shoulders and went on to the next town, Iconium, brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit, two happy disciples.

© 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Revelation 7:9-17

I John, had a vision. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there—all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were /standing/, dressed in white robes and waving palm branches, standing before the Throne and the Lamb and heartily singing: Salvation to our God on his Throne! Salvation to the Lamb!

All who were standing around the Throne, Angels, Elders, Animals, fell on their faces before the Throne and worshiped God, singing: Oh, Yes! The blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving, The honor and power and strength, To our God forever and ever and ever!

Oh, Yes! Just then one of the Elders addressed me: “Who are these dressed in white robes, and where did they come from?” Taken aback, I said, “O Sir, I have no idea; but you must know.”

Then he told me, “These are those who come from the great tribulation, and they’ve washed their robes, scrubbed them clean in the blood of the Lamb. That’s why they’re standing before God’s Throne. They serve him day and night in his Temple. The One on the Throne will pitch his tent there for them: no more hunger, no more thirst, no more scorching heat. The Lamb on the Throne will shepherd them, will lead them to spring waters of Life. And God will wipe every last tear from their eyes.”

©  2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  •  John 10:27-30

Jesus answered, My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind.”

© 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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