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This Thing Moves

April 10, 2013

Sitting inside a movie theater with my family…preparing to see an underwhelming, yet surprisingly overpriced film about the wonder of a man called Oz…we were treated to a string of previews…each of them approved for all audiences by the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.  And one of them caught our attention.  So we sat there…all of us…and for the record, everyone in this extremely crowded theater followed suit…in complete silence…essentially in awe.  In fact, I’m nearly certain that the gentleman beside me had actual tears in his eyes.

If you will…and I sincerely hope you will…take just a moment and read through Acts, chapter 13, verses 4-12.

Violating the first rule of viewing a film within an actual theater, I immediately sent a message to a friend of mine.  It was short…to the point…and simply said, “We will see Man of Steel.”  That was it.  There was nothing profound about it…and nothing witty or creative.  It was just a simple declaration of something that I had, by my own volition, deemed worthy of two hours of our time.  His response, “Yeah…I heard that’s going to be sick,” speaks volumes about what we see happening here in Acts 13 on the island of Cyprus.

As Barnabas and Saul make their way across the island…some ninety miles from Salamis to Paphos…they aren’t just walking.  The Holy Spirit has sent them there for a purpose.  It’s not just a mystical force of missionary intuition that landed them there.  The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity…is driving this movement.  Barnabas, being a native of Cyprus, had an extensive knowledge of the people, the culture, and the religious climate that they were ministering in.  We don’t know how long they stayed at Salamis…but they began moving westward…proclaiming the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.

Sometime during their journey to Paphos, their message appears to have gotten out in front of them.  Because if we look carefully, we see that the proconsul, a man called Sergius Paulus, “summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.”  So he’s already heard some stuff.  He’s already…at this point…heard talk of what’s happening in his land…and he’s interested.  As the Holy Spirit is leading our boys across the island…they’re proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ…and it seems that people are talking about it.  From town to town and village to village, the message is actually advancing ahead of the messengers. 

Now, this is exactly what happens in our world today.  Despite our cultural egotism that proclaims how we are so distant and removed from the people of the New Testament, evidently, people haven’t changed that much in 2000 years.  Because just like that movie preview…or that book, or that song…people tell other people about the things that they deem worthy of their time.  And on Cyprus…people were telling other people…about Jesus.  So while Barnabas and Saul get the headlines for this man’s conversion…the groundwork was laid by nameless men…well before they ever got there.  And now we see, in verse 12, the first totally Gentile convert to Christianity.  Because men believed the truth of the Gospel…because it was actually “good news” to them, others heard and believed…and ultimately…were saved.  Imagine what would happen if churches were full of people who believed…who thought this message of hope and salvation was not only true…but worthy of being told.

I’ll spend money on another overpriced movie…and then I’ll run out the door at the end (I’ll probably walk and play it cool…but you get the idea).  I’ll proclaim how great it was…how realistic the CGI was…or how deep the story line was…or just how cool it was.  It was time well spent.  My hope for us is that we’ll be a people who do the same thing with Jesus.  That we’ll be people, who, appreciate…who take seriously…who actually believe what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light.”

That’s our identity.  That’s our purpose.  Now…go.

One Comment leave one →
  1. laurimwilliams permalink
    April 10, 2013 8:00 pm

    Great. Thanks for that. Xoxo

    Sent from my iPhone

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