Does every visitor feel welcome in our church? Or do only certain types feel welcome while others are ignored? If we only love those who are easy to love and connect with, then our love is conditional and that’s not what the church should be. Look out for someone to connect with next Sunday.
by Rev Jason Phua
Readings: Acts 25:1-27; Proverbs 10:18
READ (Verse chosen for meditation)
Acts 25:9 “But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?”
Reading Acts 25:9 reminded me of Acts 24:27 where Felix, the previous governor also desired to “do the Jews a favor”. Why were both governors Festus and Felix eager to “do the Jews a favor”? For Felix, it was a political move in the attempt to clear off some complaints the Jews had against him for cruelty and greed. For Festus, it was also a political move to restore the peace that was disrupted by the previous governor Felix. While both governors had their reasons for wanting to “do the Jews a favor”; they did it at the cost of the apostle Paul. After having heard from the Jews and Paul, both governors could not find any reason for the apostle to be punished or tried further. However, in order to grant favours to the Jews, they did not grant freedom to Paul; even though it was in their powers to do so. They did not do what was right; but made use of Paul to further their self-interests.
Most of us might not be in positions similar to Felix or Festus; but we do grant favours to different groups of people. For example, the favour to run errands for a friend or someone who is physically unable to do so. The favour to purchase items for friends or colleagues when we are overseas. The favour to introduce work for a friend’s son or daughter. The favour granted to someone who requested to serve in a particular ministry. Nothing wrong with these favours per se; but we need to reflect on our true motives. Are we granting these with pure motives? At what costs are we granting these favours? When we grant these favours, are we doing them at the expense of others? Are we granting these favours in alignment with what the Bible is saying? The irony of Acts 24-25 is that while Paul stood fully for righteousness; the authorities around him abused their positions for unrighteousness by granting unjust favours to the Jews. Yet, all these could not overthrow God’s plan for Paul to proclaim God’s righteousness in Rome. God and His justice always win; even if it seemed that wickedness should thrive but only for a short while.
Lord my God, help me to serve with pure motives, truth and righteousness. This is so that others know what You truly stand for. Amen.
by Rev Joel Yong
1 Corinthians 10:6
These things have become examples for us so that we won’t desire what is evil, as they did.
Paul warns the church to not follow the example of Israel as it rebelled against God in the wilderness.
We can learn either by –
- Watching and avoiding their mistakes.
- Following their foolishness and reaping the consequences for ourselves.
The people of Israel did not remember what God had done for them.
When they were free, they forgot about the 10 plagues He rained upon Egypt to save them.
When they had crossed the Red Sea, they forgot about how He parted the seas and complained about thirst and hunger …
When He gave them water from a rock, and manna from the heavens, they forgot about that and complained about how boring the food was … and how they wanted variety …
See how evil they were?
What if we repeated their evil?
What would it look like today?
Would it look like a person God healed from an illness years ago, who is complaining about how boring church service was on Sunday?
Or a person God blessed with wealth, and complains about how the last business deal fell through and cost him a portion of that still enormous wealth in the family?
Or a person who has been forgiven who now bears a grudge against another-and like Jonah, sits and watches awaiting doom to come for another?
What do you think?