Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Passing By

“And now I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified.” (Acts 23:32)

Sparkling sunshine and fresh salt spray, along with Mediterranean blue and a pristine coastline were invigorating to Paul, Luke, Timothy, and others in their party. They were port-hopping southward along the coast of Asia Minor (Turkey today), closing out the third missionary journey. They sailed past Ephesus, and yet something in Paul pulled at his heart like a magnet, creating a longing to go there. He could not, though, because a stronger voice was calling from Jerusalem. That is where he needed to be, and he hoped to be there by the Day of Pentecost. Even so, 3-years of ministry invested in Ephesus was drifting behind them. He had a farewell in him that needed to be expressed. So, he had the ship pull into the next seaport, Miletus. He sent messengers to Ephesus and called for the leaders of the church there to meet him in Miletus. They did. He gave them his farewell and encouragement, and that is when he spoke the words above.

This “commitment” was a goodbye. He felt he would never see them again in this life, and that they would not see him again. So when he said, “I commit you to God,” he meant that he was releasing them into the care of God. They had been trained. They knew what to do. Now it was time for them to fly.

Paul also committed them to the message of God’s grace: the gospel of Jesus Christ. He reminded them that this message impacted them in at least two ways: 1) it built them up, and 2) it gave them an inheritance. The gospel builds a relationship with God. It represents a relationship of a parent to a child. As children of God in faith, we thus have an inheritance, because we are among those set apart to God.

God has committed to us today the message of His grace, and He has now give us also an inheritance in His kingdom. What He has committed to us calls for us to be faithful.

Lord, May our walk with You in Your kingdom be fully faithful. Amen.

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