Virtue lies in the middle – Friday, 4th week in Easter – Acts 13:26-33

Most of us have been cautioned against making the mistakes that others have made. These well-intentioned tidbits of advice are gently offered in the hope that one does not have to learn the hard way. Sure, one can put their hand in the fire and learn first-hand, but while that is good in theory it is rather daft in reality. It would do well to heed a good warning.

Paul is doing the same while delivering a Sabbath homily to the Jews and also to those who “fear God.” It was not uncommon for Gentiles to attend sabbath services. But this homily is delivered with kid gloves not because he is afraid but so as not to offend and with a clear goal to win over.

Paul has to speak the truth about the death of Jesus. Yet he has to place that blame very gently at the door of those who killed the author of life. He appeals to the Jews of Antioch and addresses them as “children of Abraham.” In doing this he alienates the blame for the death of Jesus and places it on the “residents of Jerusalem.”

Yet for a greater cause, he speaks rather of the ‘ignorance’ of their Jewish brothers in Jerusalem than their viciousness. They who had read the words of the prophet each sabbath, were unable to ‘recognize’ the messiah when he came. But even more, it was the leaders of Jerusalem who inadvertently fulfilled the prophecies when they condemned him to die even though he was innocent.

Paul is sensitive to the mission. Sure, he could have called a spade a spade but then what would it have achieved? So much of our life is all about dishing out the truth in the way we think people ought to hear it. Condemnation gets us very little; conversation achieves much. This could have been a fist-thumping, finger-pointing, and name-calling homily. Yet the truth was delivered with love. For truth without love is cruel and love without truth is sentimental. Paul shows us how to balance both; virtue lies in the middle.

What was the result? Verse 42 which is not part of our text tells us that as Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people urged them to come back the next sabbath and speak about these things. Were they converted? I guess their hearts were warmed and their mind was open. The next sabbath ‘almost the whole city had gathered.’ But where there is good news, bad news is soon to follow and what we are told is fueled by ‘jealousy.’ (verse 45).

For now, let us be inspired by Paul. These were not some smart life skills he was employing; these were skills of love.

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[caption id="attachment_8020" align="aligncenter" width="520"]  [/caption] Dictators beware -Wednesday, 4th Week in Easter – Acts 12:24-13:5 Read also View also a previous teaching by clicking on this link!&&p=bb76d5dfba185935JmltdHM9MTcxMzgzMDQwMCZpZ3VpZD0wODJmZjQzNS1kNjU2LTYyZGUtMjEzMi1lNzVmZDdjZDYzZjImaW5zaWQ9NTIxNQ&ptn=3&ver=2&hsh=3&fclid=082ff435-d656-62de-2132-e75fd7cd63f2&psq=youtbue+warner+wednesday+4th+week+easter&u=a1aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cueW91dHViZS5jb20vd2F0Y2g_dj1sUC0zaFZNVnhIdw&ntb=1  …

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