Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Project 4:4--Day Three Hundred Thirty-Three

Day Three Hundred Thirty-Three, II Thessalonians, Acts 18-19

Today's reading contains Paul's second letter to the church at Thessalonica, along with the account of his third missionary journey.

The second Thessalonian letter seems to have been written to clear up some issues/misunderstandings with Paul's first letter to that church.   Paul reminds them that God is just.  He will punish the disobedient, but he will reward those who do what is right.  Paul clears up some misconceptions about the second coming of the Lord.  When Paul said that Jesus was coming soon, the Thessalonians apparently thought Paul meant, like, tomorrow or next week.  Paul sets them straight on that, encouraging them not to give up what they are doing.  He warns against idleness with these words:  "We hear that some among you are idle.  They are not busy; they are busybodies.  Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.  And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right."

When Paul leaves Corinth, Aquila and Priscilla go with him to Ephesus, stopping first at Cenchrea, where Paul cuts his hair off, because of a  vow he had taken.  (Makes oe wonder exactly what kind of a vow he took?)  He leaves them there and goes to the synagogue himself to speak with the Jews.  They ask him to stay, but he refuses, instead saying that he will try to return.  He then sails from Ephesus to Caesarea, where he greets the church, and then he goes back to Antioch.

After spending some time in Antioch, he leaves again to travel throughout Phrygia and Galatia, visiting some of those same churches again.  Paul does eventually make it back to Ephesus, where he spends three months teaching the Jews in the synagogue.  But still, some of them oppose him and refuse to believe.

While Paul is doing many miraculous signs as he is preaching the gospel, there is also an account of some Jews who tried to drive out some demons in the name of Jesus.  They walked away wishing they hadn't tried that, and when word of this reached everyone in Ephesus, many of them were afraid.  Many who practiced sorcery burned their scrolls and gave up that practice.

Some time after all of this, Paul decides to go to Jerusalem, and he also sets his mind to go to Rome.

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