Sunday, February 17
Pests for Jesus
Scripture: Numbers 1-2, Acts 24
Acts 24:5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect.”
Paul is on trial before Felix and the Jewish lawyer, Tertullus begins his charges against Paul with this comment. This man is a troublemaker (Greek: loimos. Originally meaning “diseased, pestilential;” then, “public menace or enemy, troublemaker.”) It is variously translated, “a pest, a pestilent fellow, a plague, a troublemaker, a public menace.”
The NASB95, which I’m reading this year, translates this “we have found this man a real pest.” I laughed when I read it. Tertullus didn’t mean that Paul was irritating or annoying; he meant that Paul was deadly, that he was contagious, that he was the plague, that he was public enemy #1! This fellow is a pest! A plague!
I had never made the connection between the words “pest” and “pestilence”. When I hear “pest,” I think of someone or something that is annoying, irritating. But originally, it referred to the pestilence, the plague—a deadly epidemic!
This is the word used to describe Paul: a plague! Paul spread the Jesus contagion everywhere he went. He was contagious! People either got saved or got mad. He made converts or enemies. Everywhere he went, riots and revival broke out.
We need more pests! We need more people who are contagious for Jesus. May I be one of those!
Prayer: Lord, make me a pest for Jesus! Make me contagious! Better still, make all of us who love you contagious!