Do you remember the prayer for boldness from Acts 4: Enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus. And in Acts 12-13, that is precisely what we are seeing: the boldness of Paul and Barnabas, the signs and wonders of Peter’s escape from prison, the conversion of Elymas, the responsiveness of the Gentiles. All of this is couched with urgency. There is resistance. There is danger. There are followers whose lives are at risk – sometimes death, sometimes the risk is too much, as when John Mark returns home to Jerusalem.
We know the crunch of time and the need and desire to fit more into each day. We experience the rush that is necessary to meet a deadline. But this is urgency. Imagine a storm is building, the sirens are blaring and we heed the urgency and seek safety because we want to live. The Christian message is on the move. Paul’s message to the people of Pisidian Antioch is not the kind of message to be mulled over and pondered over time. Something new is happening in your midst and unless you join in you will miss out! God is doing a new thing which God had long planned and promised. Embrace it and live!
Sometimes when we read scripture, it feels like we are looking through a photo album of what happened a long time ago. But the scripture carries the same urgency today as 2000 years ago. This is what God is doing. It is God’s grace and mercy for you. Embrace it. Live in it. Live from it.
And pass it on.