Cats can be such jerks. But y’know what’s interesting? The gospel is sort of like that cat. Not that the gospel is a jerk, but that it comes into our world and shakes things up. The claims of the gospel have a tendency to put a hand to everything on the table…and push.
This gets people upset sometimes. It certainly did in the book of Acts, which we’ll be reading this Sunday, in chapter 17:1-15.
We’ll be reading how some folks felt that Paul and company were people who were there to “turn the world upside down”. I think if Paul were asked, he would say he was on a mission to turn the world right way up – but its all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?
The first way the gospel message turns the world upside down in this section is in the world of religion. How do you think the message that Jesus brings upsets the apple-cart in the world of religious assumptions? Has the message of Jesus and His grace upset any of your religious assumptions over the years?
The second way the gospel turns the world upside down has to do with who is ruling our lives. They complained in v7 that Paul presented “another king, Jesus”. There are a lot of things in the broken world that lay claim to our loyalties – how does Jesus interfere with this? Our loyalties can be demonstrated by our time, resources and energy. If you apply that test to your own life, where do your loyalties seem most stringent (don’t answer that out-loud, its just something to mull over)?
When Paul and company get to Berea, the Jewish Bereans are commended for “receiving” or being open minded towards the gospel “eagerly”. But this wasn’t simple gullibility, they were also commended for their discipline in regular examination of the gospel’s claims testing them against Scripture. The story seems to encourage an open mind that employs critical thinking. How open minded would you say you are when it comes to hearing things that are unfamiliar to you? How well would you say you examine and test the things you believe about God?
The gospel stares us down and pushes the glass over the edge. How do we respond?