The Authority of Paul

Today's Bible reading: Romans 15:14-22

A few weeks ago we talked about how the full title of Acts is actually the Acts of the Apostles … but that a better or more appropriate title might actually be the Acts of the Holy Spirit.  If we remember that Acts really describes the Acts of the Holy Spirit, we don’t find it surprising that Paul and Barnabas are sent out on their journey from Antioch by the Holy Spirit.  He is the one who directs their steps from now on.

Already in the first of Paul’s three journeys, we see the development of certain key features of Paul’s work which stamp his whole life.  He goes out as one who is not a member of the original band of apostles in Jerusalem.  He has to struggle to be recognized as an apostle.  Yet the account in Acts makes it quite clear that he is equal to Peter the apostle, who is the main character in Acts 1–12:

Both Peter and Paul heal a lame man … they both overcome a magician … both are agents of divine punishment … both raise a dead person … both have supernatural powers … both drive out demons … both give the Spirit with the laying on of hands … both are miraculously freed from captivity … both have to reject wrong worship … both make good confessions before judges who cannot convict him of crime … both find a reluctant ally among the judges … both preach boldly the name of Christ, the risen Lord.

Prayer: Almighty Lord, forgive our prejudices and teach us to see Your Son in every Christian.  Help us to abandon our self-confidence and rejoice in Your grace alone; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.