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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Preview

Luke hints at things to come. Acts 12.25

The Right and Only King (7)

Pray Psalm 99.1, 2, 9.
The LORD reigns;
Let the peoples tremble!
He dwells between the cherubim;
Let the earth be moved!
The LORD is great in Zion,
And He is high above all the peoples…
Exalt the LORD our God,
And worship at His holy hill;
For the LORD our God is holy.

Sing Psalm 99.1, 2, 9.
(Sine Nomine: For All the Saints)
The Lord is King! Let all the peoples quake!
He rules above the angels; let earth shake!
Amid His people Jesus Christ is great:
Exalt the Savior! Exalt the Savior!

Read Acts 12.1-25; meditate on verse 25.

Preparation
1. Why did Saul and Barnabas return to Antioch (cf. Acts 11.27-30)?

2. Whom did they bring with them?

Meditation

Saul and Barnabas had watched the horrible and wonderful events in Jerusalem. James was dead. Peter was miraculously delivered and now departed to another place. New leadership was emerging in the church in Jerusalem. And the people were well-supplied by the gifts Saul and Barnabas had brought from Antioch. So they headed home, back to Antioch.

The fact that John Mark accompanied them suggests either that they required some assistance in their return to Antioch or they had plans in mind for a young man who showed promise. They don’t appear to have been in the least deterred or distracted from the work of the Kingdom by what happened in Jerusalem. Stuff happens; the work of the Kingdom goes on.

Barnabas and Saul were clearly a team at this point. They worked together, and they would work together, as we shall see, until John Mark became a bone of contention and an issue between them. But even that, as we also shall see, worked out for the progress of the Kingdom. Stay tuned.

Luke uses Acts 12 as a kind of bridge into the story of the Kingdom’s wider expansion. Jewish opposition and Roman power could not stop the Word from increasing. Old leaders died, but new ones – James, Saul, John Mark – were ready to rise. The foolishness of unbelief continued, but heavenly hosts and an exalted King are pursuing a different agenda, turning the world rightside-up for the glory of God.

New leaders, new horizons, new opportunities are opening before the Lord’s faithful witnesses. What was true in Acts 12 remains true today. Right there in your own Personal Mission Field.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The team of Barnabas and Saul was a winning combination: Saul tended toward the aggressive and Barnabas tempered that with encouragement.

These two were learning many skills from one another, and their differences balanced both of their personalities for use in the Kingdom.

Although Peter was writing about husbands and wives, the same dynamic put forth for them, can be true of fellow-workers in the Kingdom: “as being heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Pet. 3.7).

Proverbs 27 contains several verses that we can see these heirs putting to good use:
“Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed” (v. 5).
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” (v. 6)
“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (v. 17).

And now they were adding another personality to the mix, John Mark. Saul and Barnabas will be a whole different kind of influence than Rhoda (Acts 12.12-14). “The righteous should choose his friends carefully…” (Prov.12.26) Bless her heart, there wasn’t anything wrong with her, but perhaps John Mark was ready for more.

Perhaps being with these two men pushed John Mark way out of his comfort zone. And there he learned to rely on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are we content to stay secure, and not force ourselves to trust God for everything?

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3.5, 6).

All of our relationships should be for the edification and encouragement in the Lord, of each other. And all for the glory of God. That is the purpose. That is the plan. That is the preview of heaven.

And I must admit, I am encouraged that Rhoda had a purpose and a Personal Mission Field.  There is even a place for those of us who excitedly forget to open the door! Because truly, her omission was done out of love and gladness (Acts 12.14), which clearly fulfilled the Law of God (Rom. 13.8).

For reflection

1. Is it your practice to see every task and every opportunity as a Kingdom task or opportunity? Explain.

2. How can friends – and how can spouses – help one another to be more consistent in working our Personal Mission Fields?

3. How can prayer help us to be more consistent in seeing all our tasks and opportunities as ways of seeking and advancing the Kingdom of God?

[That Saul and Barnabas took John Mark with them] is here set down to prepare and transition into the following history. The English Annotations (1645, 1651, 1657), Annotations on Acts 12:25, 23

Pray Psalm 99.3-5, 9.
Pray for the coming of God’s rule – His Kingdom – in justice, uprightness, righteousness, and worship throughout the earth.

Sing Psalm 99.3-5, 9.

(Sine Nomine: For All the Saints)
Let all men praise Your great and awesome Name,
O holy Lord, of strength and justice fame.
Your righteousness and justice we proclaim:
Exalt the Savior! Exalt the Savior!

You have established strength and equity;
before Your throne, O Lord, we bend the knee.
To You, O Savior, praise and honor be:
Exalt the Savior! Exalt the Savior!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

Read more about the work Jesus is doing as King. Our books, The Kingship of Jesus and What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth? can help you understand the scope, focus, and power of Jesus’ rule at the Father’s right hand. Each is free, and you can order them by clicking here and here.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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