20 “All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.
21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’
23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.
24 Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’
26 “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. ”
Acts 13:20–26 ESV Read More
This is one of Paul’s most complete speeches in the book of Acts. It’s wild how here, in the land of the Galatians, so far from Jerusalem, he still leans heavily on Jewish history. He has been invited to speak at a synagogue, after all.
He is also aware of the large group of Gentile converts to Judaism. He doesn’t go deep into some esoteric history of Israel. He keeps it at a Sunday-school level of history. The point of it all: God reaching out and the people’s reaction to God’s reach.
God reached with Moses and the Law, then the Judges and Samuel, then David, then the prophets. These folks probably heard of John the Baptist. John raised a real ruckus around Jerusalem and even in Herod’s court.
But now, God has reached out with the promised Savior. Every Sabbath they gathered together and taught the strange teachings of Yahweh. Strange because they were embedded in Greek and Roman culture where the gods were as unpredictable as moody, selfish, capricious, people.
Yahweh could be trusted and depended on. He had a clear Law to explain and reveal Himself. Someday He would reshape people from the inside out, giving them hearts and souls that would listen and respond to Him instead of living in rebellion. One day He would take away the barrier between God and Mankind so that they could all live and communicate together.
That barrier, of course, was the boundary of godliness. It was the difference between a perfect and Holy God and the fallen and rebellious people.
Jesus took away that barrier by dying for all sin on the cross. Because of Him, anyone that believes in Him can be free from their sins and interact with the Holy God. All who desire the Holy God will be drawn to that. Unfortunately, as we’ll see, some people desire the struggling and power associated with failing and perpetually trying, so they will hate the sound of forgiveness and grace.
The message of salvation isn’t for everybody, but those who know, know. If you know that you need salvation, it is the good news. This was the good news that Paul was sharing whenever he had the chance.