The notes today have been provided by Hannah.
So Paul and Barnabas have made it to Turkey in today’s passage, they have gone to the synagogue on the Sabbath and Paul has been given an opportunity he’ll grasp with both hands – the opportunity to preach. You can read the passage here.
Paul was an educated man and an experienced scholar of the Old Testament. The service described in this passage follows the usual formula and it was customary to ask someone educated to share once some of the law and prophets had been read. Paul was not the sort of man to refuse an opportunity to preach.
Paul’s sermon explains the link between the passages they’d just heard and Jesus. This was incredibly important for those that were there. Tim Ross, a pastor in Texas and a brilliant preacher talks about the Old Testament being like a film trailer. He says that there’s a whisper that forms a crescendo, shouting “he is coming!”. From the Garden of Eden where God says “where are you?” after Adam and Eve fall, there is a pattern of grace that echoes through the whole bible. The history of Moses, Samuel and David culminates, as Paul says, in Jesus.
The cost of redemption, as he talks about, was for Jesus to be killed. For those who rejected him and crucified him, he died and hung on a tree (Paul is referring to Deuteronomy 21:22 here). Paul then says the wonderful phrase “but God”, Jesus was victorious over death and sin because he was resurrected. God raised him from the dead and with that bought our freedom. Hallelujah! God is greater and more powerful than our rebellion and sin.
With his message there also comes a warning. There are some who would never believe even if someone told them. Paul is quoting Habakkuk and reiterating its relevance to the people who stood in the synagogue. It’s relevant for us today too (obviously!), have our hearts softened to the gospel? Have we truly responded to Jesus? For those of us who are doubting, the bible makes our part in it really clear.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
My hope is built on nothing less,
Than your faithfulness, your faithfulness,
Counting on Christ and Christ alone,
I’m hoping in you, hoping in you. (Counting on Your Name, Tim Hughes)