“May We Sense a Connection to God’s Gracious Plan of Redemption 願我們意識到自己與神恩惠的救贖計劃的聯係“（Acts 使徒行傳 13:13-20）
… John left them to return to Jerusalem. From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. … the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, ‘Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.’ Standing up, Paul … said: ‘Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness; and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. All this took about 450 years. ‘After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.
… 約翰卻離開他們，回耶路撒冷去了。他們從別加往前走，到了彼西底的安提阿 … 會堂的理事們派人到他們那裡來，說：“弟兄們，如果有什麼勸勉眾人的話，請說吧！”保羅就站起來 … 說：“以色列人和敬畏神的人，請聽！以色列民的神，揀選了我們的祖先；當他們在埃及地寄居的時候，神抬舉這民，用大能的膀臂，把他們從那地領出來；又在曠野容忍他們，約有四十年之久；滅了迦南地的七族之後，就把那地分給他們為業；這一切歷時約四百五十年。後來神賜給他們士師，直到撒母耳先知為止。
Here, the description of the missionary group was changed to ‘Paul (Saul’s Roman name) and his companions’ indirectly reflecting Paul’s increasing leadership and prominence. Immediately after this was John/Mark’s departure mentioned without any stated cause/reason. With Paul’s negative comment towards this at a later chapter, it reminds us that as great and godly as these men were, and as great as the work was that they did, they were human and still had problems. Paul used the opportunity of the customary invitation at the synagogue to address both Jews and those Gentiles yet to fully commit to Judaism. He started with a survey of Israel’s history with important events (which we know full of lessons of obedience and disobedience of God’s people) demonstrating that God has a salvation plan for human history.
Prayer: Merciful God, Israel’s history is simply an epitome of fallen human history where mankind without returning to you continue to repeat same past mistakes generation after generation leading to ultimate self-destruction. The final remark of the Book of Judges ‘in those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit’ reminds us of human pride and sinful nature as the root cause of this fallen world which can only be rectified through Jesus Christ. Awaken us to our own problems by your living word so that we can sense a connection to your gracious plan of redemption. Amen.
禱告: 慈悲憐憫的神啊，以色列的歷史只不過是墮落人類的歷史縮影，其中未回轉歸向你的人，一代又一代繼續重複過去同樣的錯誤，導致終極的自取滅亡。 「在那些日子，以色列中沒有王，各人都行自己看為對的事。」這士師記最後的評論，提醒我們有關人的驕傲和罪性，成為這敗壞世界的根本起因，這只能夠透過耶穌基督被改正過來。求你用生命之道使我們覺醒自己的問題，好使我們能夠意識到自己與你恩惠的救贖計劃的聯係。阿們。