Wednesday, August 18, 2010

changing trains

I thought about riding trains this morning, as I considered Acts, chapters 4 and 5.  I thought about how each of us rides a train that carries our lives.  We can be hauled by different locomotives...we can ride on different tracks...ultimately we may have different destinations.   We reach a comfort level with the structure, the nature and the direction of our lives no matter what train we have been riding through life.  The Lord is about the business of reaching through the train window, yanking us up out of our seat, and pulling us over to His train.  In the early chapters of Acts we see the Apostles riding fervently on the Lord's train.  The local people around the Apostles have been traveling trains of their own but many are jumping tracks as they witness miracles of healing and see the unity of the early church...many passenger cars are being attached to the Lord's train.  The toughest crowd seems to be the priests and the sanhedrin, or leadership council of the Jews.  They have been riding the deluxe train for generations...esteemed for religious leadership and power in the community.   They resent the presence of this new train in their midst.  They have been so comfortable, for so long, as they have traveled the tracks of their train that it is very hard for them to even consider that there could be a better way to travel.  And, as travelers on the same train, they tend to encourage each other to continue to try to protect their privileged path.  They are not even shaken out of their comfort zone by the miracles performed by Peter and the others.  If it weren't for the wise words of Gamaliel (one of the wiser council members) they would have killed the apostles.  But this morning I noticed for the first time that the power of the Lord and the persistence of the apostles even reached this tough crowd.  Acts 6:7 "So the word of God spread.  The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith."  I can see how it was more difficult for the religious establishment to leave the comfort of their plush train for the uncertainty of Jesus and His passionate followers.  Perhaps this represented one of the greatest miracles of those early days.
Rob Smith

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