I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I am not too sure I mind if you mind. It’s just factual, and whether you are adverse to the word “badass” or not, the fact that he was one is smattered throughout Acts and the letters following.
I’m in a Bible study where we are studying 2 Corinthians, and it got me curious of Paul’s journeys prior to this. Now, I don’t know exactly what I thought Paul’s missionary journeys consisted of prior to this new enlightenment of mine. I probably thought it was Paul and Barnabas casually strolling around Antioch and some other places, sometimes going boating to the next big place. I probably thought it was those two just traipsing along sharing Jesus with non-believers, sometimes shaking dust off their sandals or being jailed or punched in the face or something.
One Religious Meeting at a Time
So, I’ve been pretty amused and enlightened studying their journeys actually. It’s pretty fascinating because they focused a lot on “reasoning with” the believers and religious leaders at the time. And a lot of those believers did NOT like that Paul was telling them that they didn’t have to perform rituals and follow strict codes because Jesus released them from the law.
Here I figured that they were saving people who had never heard of Jesus, when actually Paul was kind of a missionary to the religious leaders of the time. And man, it didn’t go so well most of the time.
Vampires and the “Cool Kids”
In Acts 14, I was giggling to myself most of the chapter, because there is all of this talk of the religious leaders having to hold meetings with delegates and discuss what the rules will now be and whether or not it is okay to believe these newfangled ideas. It’s crazy how much times have changed…not.
Paul even at one point concedes a bit and is like, “Dude, just tell your people to follow this, this, and this rule if you love your rules so much. Sheesh!” Or probably something to that effect. One of the laws Paul told them to follow was “do not drink blood.” To which all of the officials whined, “But all the cool kids are doing it!” Okay, probably not, and I don’t know exactly why they were writing the Cullen family, or why the people they were actually writing were drinking blood, but it was probably for something totally UNcool.
Now, That’s Commitment!
Studying this is actually reminding me that my study Bible is kind of shallow. Does anyone remember the whole story of how the religious officials actually followed Paul and Silas and STONED him and left him for dead. You, know, the typical weekend bash. When I was reading this story I remembered hearing a teaching about how when people were stoned they actually crush your skull (um, NO thanks) but then I read that “as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town.” Paul, you crazy! There’s a lot going on here, like your head was bashed in, so um, MIRACLE, no big deal. I guess the believers believed he would get back up so he did. Then he goes BACK INTO TOWN!?
So, I went to read in the little study notes at the bottom to see what little nugget of truth might be found, and it literally said, “That’s commitment!” I believe that this might be the wildest understatement ever written. I decided to roll my eyes for a second, continue reading, and probably to buy a different study Bible. I think that sitting in a jail cell even after the doors opened up is probably a commitment to the call but this is just badass CRAZY. Paul, what are you doing!? I guess if you just had your head bashed in and then were miraculously healed you’d feel pretty much covered though. So, off he went, preachin’ to people, people following Jesus because of his Spirit filled words, and being chased down by angry religious people.
More on this next time…