Interpreting and Preaching New Testament Narratives – Day 4

How do we lift and celebrate parts of the book of Acts that do not mention Jesus? Consider Acts 14 when Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra. Paul healed a man. Then Paul and Barnabas were celebrated for being the incarnation of Zeus and Hermes. Paul and Barnabas realized what was happening. They tore their robes and told the people to set aside their vain things and believe in the living God. Paul was scarcely able to hold back the crowd from offering more sacrifices. But the people were persuaded away from celebrating Paul and Barnabas by Jews that came from Antioch and Iconium. So they dragged Paul out of the city and stoned him. People presumed him dead, but the disciples gathered around him and he rose up and returned to the city. So in Acts 14:8-20 there are many powerful literary tools used to tell this story, but how should this passage be preached in a Christian congregation?

Today in class we looked at seven passages from the book of Acts that are not found in the normal schedule of readings and likely would be avoided by many preachers. We were each assigned one of these passages earlier in the week and today preached small sermons. It was wonderful today to hear how my classmates connected these passages from Acts to our story today. I would share these sermons but I am looking forward to using some of these good ideas in my own preaching. 🙂

In the public square

Life together with the Risen Lord is possible in the public square. We see in the book of Acts that St. Paul brings the gospel to Athens. He sees all their desire for answers and he does not hide from sharing the promise of Jesus.

How do we today go forward into the public square with the promise of the gospel?

Do we go forward afraid of the power? No, we don’t need to be afraid because Jesus goes with us and he is victorious.

Do we go forward expecting everyone to become our ally once they hear our message? No, we know the truth that seed that is planted is not always going to grow.

What do we expect? We expect Jesus to be the risen Lord that is the power of God to work salvation.