Monday, February 12

Making friends in high places

Scripture: Leviticus 18-19, Psalm 13, Acts 19

Acts 19:9 But when some became hardened and would not believe, slandering the Way in front of the crowd, he withdrew from them and met separately with the disciples, conducting discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

Acts 19:31 Even some of the provincial officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent word to him, pleading with him not to take a chance by going  into the amphitheater.

Observation

Verse 9: When Paul met stiff resistance in the synagogue, he moved to the lecture hall of Tyrannus (meaning “Tyrant”—who names their kid that?).  One Greek manuscript adds that Paul conducted discussions there from 11 am to 4 pm, which was the heat of the day when people stopped work and rested.  So Paul worked as a tentmaker in the morning, and spent the afternoon, when people were off work, sharing the gospel in this lecture hall.

Verse 31: When the riot erupted, Paul wanted to address the crowd, but his fellow believers didn’t let him, and “some of the provincial officials of Asia, who were his friends,” pleaded with him not to go.  Luke had an apologetic motive for including this detail: if Paul was friends with these officials, he posed no threat to the Roman state (a constant theme in Acts).  But what strikes me is that Paul had friends in high places.  He was sharing the gospel and making friends with powerful people.

Application

What would “the hall of Tyrannus” be today?  It would be a public place for discussion of Jesus when people are off work.  Our church building and services are that—what if we included a discussion element besides the teaching?  Other places?

I’m encouraged by being at the National Prayer Breakfast and learning from its organizers to gather community leaders around Jesus for prayer.  I’m taking a step that direction this week.

Prayer: Lord, I want to help as many people as possible find and follow Jesus.  Lead me, use me.  And not just me…many others as well.  It’s a big job!