The One Year New Testament
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2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. 5 But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. 6 And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8 And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. 9 And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.
The death of the Messiah (Christ) is a shocking concept, but in Thessalonica Paul explained from the Scriptures “that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer” (Acts 17:3). Jesus’ crucifixion was no accident. He was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (2:23)—a plan that was revealed even in Old Testament Scriptures (e.g., Isaiah 53; Psalm 22; Luke 24:25–26). In order to bring guilty sinners into the eternal presence of God, there was no other way (Mark 14:36). Christ had to suffer, “the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
In Revelation 7:9, the redeemed wear white robes, and verse 14 says the robes have been washed white in the blood of the Lamb. This is a symbolic description of the way that faith in Christ cleanses us of our sin, guilt, and shame. Similar to Revelation 5:9–14, those who have been saved from the great tribulation (7:14) —which seems to refer to the whole span of church history (cf. John 16:33; Acts 14:22; Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17)—respond with praise to the Father and to Jesus for accomplishing the work of salvation (Rev. 7:9–10). The hosts of heaven also worship God in response to the salvation he has achieved for his people (vv. 11–12).
14 You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
Thoughts For Prayer
Christ’s death for our salvation is the ultimate example of God accomplishing his purposes through weakness. Pray that you would adopt this perspective: weakness is not a hindrance to the work of God but an opportunity for God to work in unexpectedly powerful ways.
Missions Prayer Requests More
December 6, 2023
Supported Workers: Human Coalition Cleveland (Health for Her)
Country: United States of America
Please pray for their holiday project (Holiday Connections). Pray that the donors and clients will connect with ease and begin to build a relationship beyond Christmas. Pray that the hearts and minds of women would be open and transformed regarding their pregnancies. Pray that new churches and individual donors will come alongside them as they continue to be a voice for the preborn. Pray for protection of their frontline as they lean into difficult places trusting in God—that he will help them put their faith in him and not the laws of man.
Estonia (Europe). Population: 1,322,765 Believers: 4.9%. Despite a Protestant heritage, genuine faith in Estonia is rare. Many have limited Christian belief, but very few follow Jesus in any meaningful way. Most of the population needs to be re-evangelized. Pray for a new vision for evangelism and revival to reawaken the nominal majority.
From Operation World DVD-ROM 2010 and www.operationworld.org
The One Year New Testament Copyright Tyndale House Publishers, used by Permission. NIV Bible copyright International Bible Society.