NT Connect: Acts 13:13-52
Weekly Reading: Isaiah 45-50
Light for the Nations
This week’s OT reading led us through Isaiah 45-50. Isaiah 49:1-7 speaks of a Servant who brings salvation to sis people. Who is this Servant? This Servant is Jesus Christ, to whom several meaningful descriptions are given.
- He is God’s servant and warrior (v.1-2) serving those who trust Him and ultimately judging those who resist Him.
- He is God’s Israel (v.3), accomplishing what the nation of Israel failed to accomplish, namely bringing God’s salvation to the Gentiles.
- He is light ( v.6) for the nations, to be God’s salvation to the ends of the earth.
- He is Redeemer and Holy One who is faithful to His Word and Promises.
What a beautiful illustration of Christ in the Old Testament. God’s story of redemption continues amazingly and mightily in our NT reading of Acts 13:13-52.
In Acts 13, Paul and his companions reached Antioch. On the Sabbath Day, they went into the synagogue and were invited to share a message of encouragement for the people gathered. Did you catch that? The Apostle Paul was given invitation to speak a message. What would he say, what would he share?
The Bible tells us, “Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: ‘Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen!’” (Acts 13:16). Paul went on to explain OT history, climaxing with the ministry of John the Baptist and the coming of their Messiah. Was their time with the people in Antioch meaningful and effective? We are told in verse 42: “As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath,” and in verse 44 we read, “The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.” I would say that God’s message was quite meaningful and effective. Amazing!
A couple of observations we should be sure to catch as followers of Christ in our modern context. First, God’s Word endures forever. Note the emphasis in Acts 13 on the Word of God (vv. 5, 7, 15, 26, 44, 46, 48-49). In Paul’s preaching at Antioch, he quoted from 1 Samuel, Isaiah, Habakkuk, and Psalms. He preached salvation by faith in Jesus Christ whom God raised from the dead (vv. 38-39). The Word of the Lord endures forever through this age, and the age to come.
Second, notice that Paul preached God’s word, and he planted churches. God desires for the gospel to go to the nations, and he will accomplish this goal through the planting of local churches. Paul and Barnabas set a great example for us. As we follow Paul’s journey in Acts, you will notice that they selected strategic cities, through the Holy Spirit’s direction, and planted churches in them. From these churches, they shared the gospel to the surrounding areas.
Some great reminders for us from Isaiah and Acts. We need to know, hear, and study God’s Word together in community. We need to engage the nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ as a local church, locally, nationally, and globally for his glory!