The First Missionary Journey – Acts 13:1-14:28

The First Missionary Journey – Acts 13:1-14:28

Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!

Given the chance to speak in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch, Paul stands up and begins a history lesson, summarizing God’s interactions with the people of God from the time of Abraham until the time of Jesus.  This same approach was taken when Peter and John stood before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:1-22), and when Stephen stood trial (Acts 7:1-53).  In each case, they respond to their accusers by putting their current events within their historical context.

A couple of thoughts related to this:

  1. We are reminded that the Christian faith is thoroughly grounded and rooted in history.  While God is doing a new thing (even today), it is fully consistent with the “new thing” He has been doing throughout history.  We ought to remain connected not only to ancient Christian practices, but to our Jewish roots as well.
  2. These men (Paul, Peter, John, and Stephen) all witness to others within the context of the worldview of those they are trying to reach.  They understand the people they are reaching, and they meet them where they are.  As we share our faith, it’s vital that we get to know those we are reaching, to share with them the information that is appropriate to their context, spiritual state, and knowledge.
  3. We are also reminded how important it is for us to know our scriptures!  We can only outline the history of God’s interaction with the world if we know that history.  We can only remain rooted in our own history if we understand it.  Our ability to share the Good News is related to our knowledge of the Good News.

As you consider these early missionary movements, consider the ways God has worked in your life… in the Church… and in the world.  These all become events and moments that might be part of your summary of the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story because I know ’tis true.
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.
I love to tell the story! ‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.
                                   – Katherine Hankey