Good news and bad news…

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Acts 16:1 Paul went on also to Derbe and to Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and had him circumcised because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went from town to town, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily. 

I can imagine the conversation between Paul and Timothy:

Paul: “Timothy, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is you’re coming with me on the next leg of my travels.”

Timothy: “Yay!!!”

Paul: “The bad news is you have to get circumcised first.”

Timothy: “Boo!!”

This is an interesting turn of events because we just read in the book of Acts about the Council at Jerusalem at which Peter and Paul pushed back against the Jewish Christians insisting that Gentile Christians be circumcised. After some heated debate the council agreed not to burden the Gentile believers with the Mosaic law. But now we learn Timothy will be required to be circumcised to accompany Paul. Reminds me of 1 Corinthians 9:22-23

I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings. 

I’m guessing Timothy would not have been allowed into the synagogues as an uncircumcised male, so he had no choice. Bummer. Yet he was willing to do what was necessary to share in the ministry of the gospel.

Gracious Lord, it’s a privilege to share in the ministry of the gospel – whatever that looks like for each of us. Give us grace that we might make sacrifices in order to see others come to faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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