Today’s passage is Acts 16:1-10
The notes today have been written by Paul Lloyd
Removing the stumbling blocks
Some people look at this passage as one of the so-called contradictions of God’s word by using Acts 15: 22 and this passage. Timothy was different in as much as he had duel parental status, he had a Jewish mother and gentile father but, for whatever reason, Timothy was not circumcised after eight days as was the custom for all Jewish males of his day. The thinking behind Paul asking Timothy to agree to circumcision was not from any legalistic point of view, Paul’s thinking was that Timothy could speak about Jesus in the synagogue, (later we will read how great and powerful that was) but for that to happen, Timothy had to undergo circumcision. Part of village life, even large villages such as in Derbe and Lystra, everybody knew about everybody’s history, that included who had been circumcised and who had not.
As we have already seen in Acts 15, Paul argued that gentile converts did not come under the Law, as it was not through circumcision they were saved.
So how can these verses help us in our walk with God in 2015?
About 14 years ago I was invited to talk with some young offenders, about turning their lives around, these were young men and women who had been given the choice of attending six months of basic maths and English or three months in a young offenders institute (prison). On arrival I was met with a room full of very hostile young people, it was a case of them (me /authority) and us (the youth with attitude) but the reason I was invited to speak was that I had the credentials needed ie my past. Once I had introduced myself and my past, we had a great 2/3 hours of good constructive conversation, this was because we had common ground that removed the stumbling blocks. Common ground that was my past and their present. (I’m glad to say I did not have to go through the ritual of circumcision as Timothy did!).
By Paul circumcising Timothy (and it seemed from the direction Luke is telling us it was Paul himself who performed the minor but painful task) (Genesis 34: 25) Timothy was allowed to then sit with scribes and teachers of the law and tell them about Jesus, not just because he was a Jew on his mother’s side but because he had been circumcised.
Paul is showing us that as Christens we are never to stop looking for ways to tell people about Jesus.
If you are a Christian reading this then God has done wonderful things in your life, so go tell the next person you meet all about it and share the Good News and if there are stumbling blocks ask God how to remove them.
Blessings to you all.
At the time of writing this blog Anne and I were staying at my daughter Becky and husband Stuart’s house. Stuart is an atheists, (please pray for them both) now Anne is not saved (I and others in Eb have seen her come close but not yet) Anne still likes to share prayer times with me each morning, except, when we are staying with others, I could insist but that would almost certainly create more of a small stumbling block in leading Anne to the Lord. There are many ways we ourselves can put a stumbling block in place unnecessarily. Let’s be mindful of this when dealing with people.