And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
We are going back to the historical books! 1 Chronicles was written after the exiles returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, the city, and their lives. The writer of 1 Chronicles wanted to remind the Jewish remnant (who had returned from exile) of their history and renew hope in the covenant promises of God.
The writer was a priest and placed considerable value on the building of Solomon’s temple and practices of the priests. He also idealized the reigns of David and Solomon – maybe to renew the hope of a Messianic ruler that would come from the line of David.
He begins his writings with a long genealogy – beginning with Adam and continuing all the way to the post-exilic period. His purpose was to rebuild the people’s identity – to give them context and purpose in their rebuilt Jerusalem.
Transitioning to Acts 19, we read of Paul’s extended ministry in Ephesus. When reading, we must remember the heavy pagan influence on the culture. In this culture, healings and authority over evil spirits gave credibility to the gospel. In our culture, the gospel gains credibility differently (probably more through kindness and great personal sacrifice rather than exorcizing evil spirits ;) But it’s the same gospel and the same Spirit at work!
Luke makes this point at the end of our reading…
So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily (Acts 19:20).
Was it Paul that prevailed mightily? Did the gospel go forth because Paul had a special skill or knowledge? No, it was the word of the Lord that increased and prevailed! Paul was a willing and obedient servant, so God used him mightily as a vehicle for His Word to prevail. So it is with us. We do not prevail because of all our special programs and ministries. It is the word of the Lord at work in us that prevails in our culture and in our world. We must be willing, but God does the work!