Paul, an apostle — sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead — and all the brothers and sisterswith me. Galatians 1:1-2 (NIV).
After ending our time in Daniel, we begin a short span in Galatians (then Ephesians and Colossians; we did Philippians a few years ago). As you’ll recall, Daniel ended in God’s angel telling him (Daniel) that he would die, then receive his inheritance when time ceased (which, for Daniel, began the moment he went to heaven, as it does for us all).
Now we join with the Apostle Paul, who is also about beginnings. He begins all his letters by introducing himself, by setting the stage for his narrative. The people with whom Paul was communicating (at the time) knew him, or at least knew of him. They knew his past as a Pharisee who used to persecute the church. They knew about how Jesus had personally converted him, and how this changed all of Paul’s life and mission. They knew the difference Paul had made in their own lives during the time he spent with them, starting the churches that he was now encouraging long-distance.
They didn’t know that Paul would become the single greatest missionary of antiquity. Or that he would author almost half of the books that became the New Testament. They didn’t know he set standards for interaction, discipline, and stewardship that most churches still follow two thousand years later. They had no way of knowing we would still be talking about them, and Paul, in those two thousand years afterwards.
What about you? Do you know any of this? What do you know of Paul and all he did? Even more, do you fully realize that there are things worth struggling for, things worth crying over, things worth dying for? Paul did. In time, not many years after he wrote Galatians, Paul died for believing in Jesus.
We’re in a new year; 2022 has just begun. Who knows where New Year’s Eve 2022 will find any of us? Or if it will find us at all, for much good and much evil can happen in this new year. In this time of beginning again, each of us should begin a new and mysterious adventure knowing that its conclusion here is certain. One day, we will each die. That may happen before next new year’s, or it may not. What we believe in-between makes an eternal difference. Will we begin anew, as Paul did by believing in the eternal Jesus Christ as the only Savior, or will we forsake Him and accept the terrible future that awaits.
For further reading: Acts 9:15, Acts 16:6, 1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Philippians 4:21, Galatians 1:3
Lord, thank You for the blessings of Your word, for Christmas, for Mom, for everything.
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