Saturday, November 23, 2013

Conversion begins at home

1 Cor 15:4-8 - "After that, he was seen by above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve After that, he was seen by James; then by all the apostles. And last of all he was seen by me also, as of one born out of due time."

Can you imagine how this went? Jesus had energized His disciples by appearing to 500 or more of them in Galilee, telling them that the Kingdom had come, and that they were to all go ahead into Jerusalem for Pentecost now. They all go ahead of Him, but Jesus stays behind, He has something to do.

He went home. There is one more thing He needs to do before ascending, and that's go back to the home where it all began. He needs to go see His younger brother James, and tell him the truth, and show him that it's all real. I imagine seeing his big brother was God Himself was a powerful moment for James. He knew Jesus growing up, they wrestled together, they worked together, they studied and ran and likely slept together, but now he adds the rest of the picture: Jesus divinity. This gives James a unique knowledge of God, and He was going to make use of it now. He was going to bring His brothers and sisters along.
This reminds me of the story of Paul .

Galatians 1:17b - "I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus."

Upon being converted Paul headed into Arabia and sought God further. He spent time having his eyes opened to the truth of the Messiah, and once this was finished, he headed back into Damascus, the city he was going to rid of Christians, to help them stand up to the Jews using the Scriptures.

Acts 9:19b, 22 - "Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God... But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ."

Gal 1:18 - "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days."

Acts 9:23, 25, 28  - And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him...Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket... And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus."

Now after three years Paul is directed by God to Jerusalem, but the door is closed to him there because everyone remembers him, and everybody fears him, and those who don't try again to kill him. So Paul goes... home. For quite a long time.

Acts 11:25 "Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul"

His plans get put on hold because Paul is now ready, he's mature enough now to preach this message

to his family. His dad the tent-maker who was so concerned and proud of his son that he sent him to study among the great thinkers in Jerusalem. His sister, (her husband?), his mother. God was going to save them, and that through the hands of Paul. And Paul is going to stay in Tarsus as long as it takes to be successful with them. Now of course I don't know how it all went, but I do know this. Acts 23:16 "And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul."

Which all tells me that God cares an especially great deal about seeing the members of our families saved, first and foremost.

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