Day 284 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Acts.
Acts 11 – The persecution following Stephen’s death (Acts 7:58–8:3) continues to have the opposite of its intended effect, as God uses it to spread His gospel abroad. The triumphant march of the gospel expands to the Gentile city of Antioch, as it becomes clearer that the Way is not merely a Jewish sect but a multiethnic work of God.
How have you seen what others have meant for destruction been used by God to fulfill His purposes?
Acts 12 – Having executed James, Herod plans to put Peter to a similar end, before God intervenes and foils his plot (verses 6–19). Here is a blatant opponent to the work of God, not motivated as Saul was by religious zeal but by the desire for acclaim. This idolatrous desire proves to be Herod’s undoing. Herod accepts the praises of the crowd, attributing to him divine eloquence. Compare this with Peter’s swift denial when Cornelius seeks to worship him (Acts 10:26), or Paul’s vehement protests when the people of Lystra mistake him for the god Hermes (Acts 14:11–15).
The Old Testament consistently teaches that when a person exalts himself, or allows others to exalt him, God will bring him down (Genesis 11:4; Isaiah 14:12–15; Daniel 4:19–27). This is a large part of how God’s wrath and justice work. Conversely, it is also how His mercy and grace work: the humble, lowly, and needy are lifted up! Such is the glorious paradox of the gospel.
With Herod’s death, “the word of God increased and multiplied” (verse 24). God directly intervenes to eliminate another obstacle to His plans, proving that no human can stand in the way of His redemptive work. The world may bring distress and mourning, but it cannot ultimately shake those who have been touched by the power and grace of the resurrected Jesus. They pray fervently amid persecution, threat, and suffering, and God works beyond even what they can ask or imagine (verse 15).
How have you experienced God’s abundant provision in your life (and this is not regarding money or possessions)?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.