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Friday, January 18, 2008

Truth in Acts 28

Acts 28:28 "You may be sure that God wants to save the Gentiles! And they will listen."

This verse in Acts really bothers me. Paul is being quoted here, and it just doesn't seem to make sense. It doesn't make sense because of the passage that comes just before it, where
Paul quotes Isaiah the prophet:

"You will listen and listen but never understand. You will look and look, but never see. All of you have stubborn hearts. Your ears are stopped up, and your eyes are covered. You cannot see or hear or understand. If you could, you would turn to me, and I would heal you."

So I'm trying to get this straight- God wants to save the Gentiles. The Gentiles will listen. They will never understand (it actually says that part twice!)

Here's why I dislike this passage so much- I have seen this to be true among the people of Western Europe. God wants to save people in Western Europe. He has brought us here to minister to them in love. He has a plan for them.

They listen. I've sat down to coffee with a national and talked about my faith for literally hours. They listen!

They do not understand. "That's great, for you" they say. "I guess that's one way of looking at it." "We have tried Christianity- look where it got us!"

If they could understand...
So many times I see hurting people who are desperate for healing. If they could understand, they could be healed. But they don't, so they aren't.

This verse bothers me because, despite all of my efforts, it is true.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Look a bit further back to see the context. Paul's quoting Isaiah when he was speaking to a group of Jews (Acts 28:17, 21-23). I think he quoted it directed towards the unbelieving Jews (because some of them did believe as stated in verse 24). Jesus quoted this same passage, or portions of it, in Matthew 13:14-15, Mark 4:12 and Luke 8:10. It's also included in John 12:40-41. Although in this case it's followed with "nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him..." which goes along with Paul's point in Acts, also seen in Romans 11:1-8 (where he quotes this passage again in verse 8) about the elect obtaining it, but the rest were hardened.

Consider Acts 13:48b too.

So you may not know in advance who will believe but your efforts to share the truth with the people of Western Europe are not in vain. The story doesn't end at the end of your conversations with them. Press on. :)