Thursday – Pentecost 18

Job 28:1-28
Acts 16:25-40
John 12:27-36

You either like Pual or you will find him extremely annoying. He doesn’t live by the rules of polite society. When you meet people like that they either tickle you at the mischievous fun they have playing with and calling society on its own rules, or you hate them passionately. They have a fire which makes convetional life seem pale. They take rules to mean what they say instead of to mean what everyone “knows” what they mean. There really is no middle ground with Paul. That is the man, but probably also a reflection of the gospel at his core. There is no middle ground with the gospel. It is a two edged sword. It is a proclamation, a claim – Jesus died and rose again for you. If true, you have to fundamentally reorder your life. Like that pop song a few years back – What if God were one of us?…Would you want to see, if seeing meant that you would have to believe, in things like Jesus and the saints and all the prophets… – You can answer no, I don’t want to see. No I don’t accept the proclamation, but you don’t just let it go. When someone who said yes appears, it causes anger.

Paul, thrown in prison for interruping the cash flow and disturbing the peace, doesn’t run when he has the chance. The jailer accepts the Gospel. The magistrates just want the problem gone. Paul, you are free to go, please leave quickly but the back gate. Convention would say run, don’t walk. That is not Paul. But I’m a Roman citizen. Can you beat and jail a Roman citizen and then show them the back door. No, let the magistrates come here themselves. So they came and apologized and showed them the door, but Paul gets his picture and apology with the magistrates. A gift to leave with Lydia. The Phillipian church has a very capable woman and the town sherrif at its bedrock.

May the Lord grant you the ability to appreciate (if not always follow) those like Paul consumed by a different message.

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