Today’s Reading: Acts 20:27-38
And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him. (Acts 20:37)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why was there so much weeping from the Ephesian elders? Why did they hug and kiss Paul, sad to see him go? They were emotional because of their great love for Paul. And they loved Paul, most of all, because he had proclaimed the truth to them.
The last couple of Reflections have warned us against false teachers and their wicked fruit of false doctrine. We are to “watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that [we] have been taught” and “avoid them” (Romans 16:17). But how should we respond to those who proclaim God’s truth to us?
The Ephesian elders provide us with a good example. Among them were Jews who had spent their whole lives desperately trying to earn God’s favor by keeping the letter of the Law. Also among them were Greeks, raised in idolatry and wickedness. All had been lost in sin, futilely trying to save themselves. But now they knew the true God of love who sent His Son to rescue them from their sin. And who was it that brought them this good news? Paul! They loved him so, because he had delivered to them the greatest gift of all—God’ s true words of freedom and life.
Paul didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. Paul says, “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:20–21). The Holy Spirit accompanied his preaching, bringing each of these men to repentance and faith. In many ways, then, they owed their eternal lives to the man who had proclaimed this saving Gospel to them.
So have you been blessed with people who have proclaimed and taught you God’s true Word. Whoever they are, be they parents or grandparents, other relatives or friends, and especially your pastors, God has worked through them to give you the greatest gift of all—repentance and faith in Jesus Christ leading to eternal life. Recognizing the great gifts that they have brought to you, how can you not treasure them, love them, and thank God for them? In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Christ, our true and only light, Enlighten those who sit in night; Let those afar now hear Your voice And in your fold with us rejoice. (“O Christ, Our True and Only Light” LSB 839, st.1)
-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Christians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.