Have you ever had a movie you could watch over and over? Some people can’t appreciate a movie more than once (unless it’s been a long time) but I love to see some movies again and again. (One of my favorites is Princess Bride, but that’s a story for another day.) The more familiar I am with the movie, the more I seek to catch something new each time. It never ceases to amaze me when I hear a line or see something that I had glossed over before. Now all of a sudden that line jumps out. Sometimes it’s even a key line that foreshadows a future event. It brings new life to a very familiar movie.
The same is very true with scripture. As I read another chapter every day, sometimes I open a chapter that I have read many times. I think I know what I am going to get out of the chapter, until a line jumps off the page that I seemed to gloss over before. That happened today with Acts 6.
The chapter is primary about Stephen. It starts with the realization that more ‘roles’ are needed in the church so they appoint mature Christians to head up the service part of the church. Stephen being one of those, becomes the subject of the next couple chapters. However, just after the appointment of these seven men, Luke describes the amazing growth happening in the church. “And the Word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7)
It’s the last part of that sentence that popped off the page today. “…and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” This early church is still in Jerusalem, the heart of the Jewish faith and now we see that ‘a great many’ priests are being converted to Christianity. No wonder the persecution of the Christian faith begins here.
From the crucifixion until this point, the Jews believed this ‘little rebellion’ was over. Jesus was dead. Sure some were claiming He had risen, but the man Himself was no longer around. Surely this little excitement would soon die away. But now we see that a significant number of the Jewish priests are suddenly coming to faith in Jesus. All of a sudden this little rebellion was a serious threat. It was one thing for uneducated Jewish men or Hellenists (Greeks) to be converted, but priests… now this is getting too real.
This one line that I had glossed over so many times, is actually vital. This sentence is what actually triggers the intense persecution of the faith, starting with Stephen just a few sentences further. This persecution was necessary to both fulfill what Jesus had said, but also to force these new Christians to spread out beyond Jerusalem and into “Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8b)
This one sentence is exciting for two reasons. First is what I show above, seeing a plot twist in the script and catching the very line where everything changes. But the second is just as important. Catching this one line in a chapter I’ve read many times before, reminds me that there is ALWAYS something new to find in the scriptures. The Holy Spirit will reveal new things to you as you continue to spend time in the scriptures. So keep reading, daily. Re-read parts of the Bible you’ve read a hundred times. Find parts you may have glossed over and study them. There is so much richness in this text. How could there not be. It is the very Word of God.
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.