The Disciples, Paul & Divisions

We said last time, The New Testament has 27 books and starts with the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. When we look at an overall picture of the four gospels, we see Jesus is a Jew from the genealogy line of David. The 39 Old Testament books told the Jews the Messiah was coming. Scripture explained how the Jews could confirm the real Messiah. So throughout the Old Testament we see clues God gives – he would be born in Bethlehem, he would come from David’s line (Isaiah 11) he would be crucified  (Isaiah 53) and many other verses.

Then the time comes for Jesus to come. And when Jesus, in the flesh, is about 30 years old, he starts his ministry. Another words, he starts revealing who he is and he performs miracles, raises people from the dead and explains things from scripture. He even tells people he is the long awaited Messiah.  Jesus presents himself as their long awaited Messiah that was to come. John 4:25-26 KJV
“The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
[26] Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”

It is not surprising how some rejected Jesus. Remember when God called Moses to deliver Israel after 430 years in bondage? The people didn’t want Moses “ruling” over them. Do you think Jesus knew they were going to reject him and crucify him? John chapter 17 is Jesus’ prayer and Jesus tells us he knew what had to happen. And that is why Jesus said, It is finished in John 19:30.

But notice John 20:9 says, ” For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” Notice the word “scripture”.

Up until this point the Jews, including the disciples, were living under the law and Old Testament teachings. And what the disciples knew and understood up to this point was only Old Testament teachings. Jesus told his disciples many times he was going to be killed but he would raise the third day. Matthew 16:21 KJV  “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”

The religious crowd knew Jesus said he would rise from the dead the third day, Matthew 27:63 KJV  “Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.”

After the crucifixion the disciples knew Jesus said he would rise but  John 20:9 KJV  “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.”

The disciples were going on what they knew Jesus told them. And one thing Jesus told them was after he left this earth, he would send the Holy Ghost / Holy Spirit to live inside all true believers. Now put yourself in the disciples shoes. What would you think of that? We look back at those times because we have “scripture”.

John 20:9 KJV  “For as yet they knew not the scripture…. .”

We can understand some of the words and teachings of Jesus  because we have the scriptures. And up until this time, there was no New Testament. And the four gospels show us the Messiah came to Israel. Israel’s religious leaders rejected the Messiah. Some from Israel believed, like Nicodemus. Jesus is crucified and then rises from the dead and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside believers. Jesus goes back to heaven and the Holy Spirit works with us and through us.

Everything is going along just fine and this religious guy named Saul gets saved. God changes his name to Paul and sends Paul to?  Acts 9:15-16 KJV
  “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
[16] For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

Now things were going to change. Why? Because God was telling Jews he was going to extend salvation to Gentiles. God prepared his apostles for this “new” thing when the Lord showed Peter in Acts 10.  Notice God called Saul / Paul first, then God deals with telling Peter?  God tells Peter in Acts 10 but Paul was called first in Acts 9.

Sometimes believers don’t see what God is doing. Peter and others knew of Saul and that Saul was killing and persecuting believers. But God called and saved Saul before Peter knew anything about it. There is a lesson in this for all of us.

God starts something “new”, extending salvation to Gentiles. Surely Jews who have Old Testament teachings embedded in them find it difficult to understand Gentiles believing on their God. But some accepted the Gentiles and tried to get Gentiles to keep their Old Testament laws. God had an answer for this and he uses Saul called Paul to explain to Gentiles and Jews. And God uses Peter to explain to Jews too. We will pick it up from here next time, Lord willing. Until next time.

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