"Now the son of Paul's sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul." v.16
In Acts 23 we read about the son of Paul's sister, or Paul's nephew. His nephew, not named, heard about the plot against his uncle, and ran to his uncle and told him. When we read Acts and the stories about Paul, we may tend to forget that like all of us, he had a family. Brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins, grandparents, and a mom and dad. They were around him, he visited them, and they were part of his day to day life while he was in Jerusalem. They were also Jews. They knew their son/brother/uncle and that he was a devout Jew, passionate for his God, passionately hunting down the Christians that were speaking blasphemy about him. He was in the center and leader of this movement. No, doubt, he had spoken of this to them, and encouraged their support in condemning and persecuting The Way.
Imagine their shock and surprise when uncle, nephew, sibling, relative of Paul heard that this defender of the Jewish faith and persecutor of Christians, was now a Christian himself. And not only that, but now he was in the center of the Christian movement. He was the talk of the town that everyone was gossiping about. And now those in power, who once were his strong allies, are now plotting to kill him! As Jews, did his family members also want to stone him? Did they want to join him? His nephew it appears was a family member who Paul's conversion affected in an acceptance of him, and perhaps an acceptance of Christ.
I believe for ODC or any church to press deeper into our calling, grow stronger together and grow our ministries together as a church family in Christ, we must strengthen and grow our personal families in Christ. We are all part of and lead houses churches, Bands, and other small groups, however the most important small group we are part of and are called to lead is our family. Focus your prayers and reflections today on your family.
Reflect for a moment how your faith has affected you family: spouse, sons and daughters, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins.
Have you shared your faith with your family? How do you share your faith with your family? Pray that you may witness to those in your family more bolder. Pray for the faith of your family. Spend your time at lunch praying over your family. Plan to spend a day fasting in prayer over your family.
Are there family members who want to stone you because of your faith? Pray that peace and reconciliation between you may occur, and the presence and Spirit of Christ may one day be something that bonds you, instead of divides you.
Pray a prayer of thanks over family members, who like Paul's nephew, went out of their way on your behalf, and ministered to you and allowed you to be where you are in Christ today.
Pray for the forming of a sturdy covering of prayer over your family that your home and relationship with them. Pray your home can be encouraging to each of you individually, and your home can be an outpost of the kingdom of God.
Pray that ODC will become an even stronger family bound by prayer that stands up for and supports each other, serves Christ together, and proclaims the gospel together.
Action: Share this message and pray with your family today. Call a family member and let them know you are praying over them.
Please share your reflections and comments below.