Daily Word

Conscripted for the Lord | Acts 16:1-5

16 Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 Timothy was well thought of by the believers[a] in Lystra and Iconium, 3 so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. 4 Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.

Acts 16:1-5 (NLT) 中文

Recap

The first missionary journey of Paul (and Barnabas) is complete. The leaders in the church in Jerusalem have confirmed that Gentiles do not need to follow Jewish customs, like circumcision, to be followers of Christ. This has been reported to the church at Antioch where the dispute first arose. Now Paul partners with Silas and they are headed out on the second missionary journey.

Conscripted for the Lord

Paul and Silas retrace their route from the first journey and end up in Derbe then Lystra. Here they find Timothy, a Greek Jew. His mom is a believer – likely a result of Paul’s preaching on his first trip. He lived life balancing between Greek and Jewish culture. The Spirit got to him also and he was saved and more, was a solid believer – well respected. 

Paul saw this and “conscripted” him into the Lord’s labor. We can only imagine it was considered an exciting honor to join Paul, but it would be fraught with danger. Timothy accepted the challenge and even the painful circumcision that came with it – understanding the need in ministering to Jews.

Letter leverage

As they visited these churches he had previously preached the gospel in, what did he do? They were, “instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem.” (v4) The decisions were embodied in the agreement about Gentiles in relation to Jewish laws and customs. I’m sure this became an important document for the church – as indicated in this passage.

RЯeflection

  • Have you been “conscripted” into the Lord’s service? In a way, we are indeed compelled – not by fear of judgment but a call to serve the Lord. And, Paul tells us that serving the Lord is like being an enlisted soldier. “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him.” 2 Timothy 2:4 He was referring to Christians as soldiers.
Army enlistment poster. Image from wikimedia.org *

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