READING: Genesis 43-44, Psalm 24, Galatians 1
The apostle Paul, his salvation story, and his ministry are evidences of the grace of God—as are our stories and ministries. As Paul defends himself in Galatians 1 to remind them of the authenticity of his message, he outlines his story with three texts:
- “For you have heard about my former way of life in Judaism: I intensely persecuted God’s church and tried to destroy it.” (Gal 1:13)
- “But when God, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me, so that I could preach him among the Gentiles . . . .” (Gal 1:15-16)
- “They simply kept hearing: ‘He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me” (Gal 1:23-24)
Don’t miss the miraculous in these verses. It was God who initiated His call on Paul, and He had set Paul apart from his “mother’s womb.” At the right time, then, God worked through the miracle of Paul (Saul’s) encounter with Jesus in Acts 9 to make Himself known to the persecutor of the church. That message then spread—Paul was now preaching the very message he had sought to eradicate! So great was his transformation that the believers could only glorify God.
That same life-changing, marvelous grace covers us as believers, too. Paul’s God is our God.
PRAYER: “God, thank You for Your powerful grace in my life today.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Genesis 45-46, Psalm 108, Galatians 2
January 27, 2020
By Our Name
Genesis 41-42, Mark 16
I’ve read Mark 16 many times, and every time I’m caught by the words of the angel in verse 7: “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there just as he told you.’” In particular, the words “and Peter” make me almost weep.
That’s because many scholars believe that Mark’s Gospel is actually Peter’s recollection of the story as he told it to Mark—and I can hear him telling the story. He had previously denied even knowing Jesus, and his grief over his failure had been deep. Now, I can just imagine Peter’s giving these details to Mark: “And, Mark, let me tell you what happened! The women went to the tomb, and they saw the Lord wasn’t there! The angel they met there called them to see where Jesus had lain, and then he told them to go tell the disciples and me!”
“Mark, the angel named me personally. Three times, I had said I wasn’t a follower of Jesus. Three times, I had lied. God could have turned His back on me then—but He didn’t do it. In fact, He sent an angel to make sure that I knew—by name—that I was still part of the disciples’ group! It was as if He went out of His way to tell me, ‘You denied me, but I won’t deny you.”
“He named me, Mark!”
Do you see why this text makes me weep? How grateful I am that God calls me by name even when I sometimes fail to magnify His name.
PRAYER: “Lord, You are so gracious to us. I can only bow before You.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Genesis 43-44, Psalm 24, Galatians 1