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Chinese8/8/2020English
經文:使徒行傳廿一章
鑰節:「……以色列人來幫助,這就是在各處教訓眾人糟踐我們百姓和律法,並這地方的。他又帶著希臘人進殿,污穢了這聖地。」(21:28)
提要

        你最近有否為自己感到難過﹖你的朋友(本應最瞭解你的人)誤會你﹖你的敵人誣陷你﹖人們完全誤解了你──有些人甚至想要害你﹖你是不是受夠了周遭人的誤導、欺騙、和怒氣﹖你是否需要有個人同情你的受害感﹖

        如果誰有正當的理由可以感覺受害,那非使徒保羅莫屬。首先,他的朋友誤會他。他剛從歷經數年的宣教旅行回來,他的朋友和耶路撒冷的領袖至少應褒揚他的工作,或為他舉行個感謝餐會等。但他們做了什麼﹖他們要他帶四個許拿細耳願的人上聖殿去,替他們拿出規費,好叫耶路撒冷的「朋友」們不致相信保羅背叛摩西律法的謠言。從某一方面來說,他們是命令保羅做一件有政治色彩的事──而保羅為了某種理由,也照著他們的計畫做了(或許是出於他「向什麼樣的人就作什麼樣的人」的哲學)。但我敢相信他一定感到不悅。

        保羅不僅受辱,接著還受了傷害,他的敵人利用他在朋友眼中的「污點」,告訴耶路撒冷城的人說,保羅不只違背摩西的律法,還在各處教導人這麼做。「他教導人糟踐我們的律法,糟踐我們的百姓,甚至還污穢聖殿!」這個誇張的謊言驚動了全城的百姓。

        儘管如此,保羅可能還有一點可以感到安慰的地方,就是他至少知道自己是為了基督的緣故受逼迫。「至少他們知道我是誰。我是為福音受難的。」如果他真的這麼想的話,我敢保證這個念頭很快也破滅了,因為當羅馬的千夫長試著要將保羅從暴民中救出來時,他端詳保羅的臉,問他說:「你莫非是從前作亂,帶領四千兇徒往曠野去的那埃及人嗎﹖」(21:38)這真叫人忍無可忍,連他的身分也被糟蹋了。身分有什麼用呢﹖

        你我若處在保羅的境地,我們可能會吶喊:「沒有人愛我。人人都討厭我,他們甚至不知道我是誰!我一定要做一件驚世駭俗的事讓大家注意到我是誰。」但保羅不這麼做。他甘願受苦,站在眾人面前勇敢的傳講耶穌。再說自憐也是沒有用處的。

禱告

        主耶穌,您捨己命而不自憐。幫助我們也像您一樣。使我們渴望您的稱許到一個地步,別人的讚美或侮辱都變得不重要了。奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Acts 21
Key Verse:“… Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.”(Acts 21:28)
Overview

        Have you been feeling sorry for yourself lately? Are your friends (the one who should know better) misunderstanding you? Your enemies misrepresenting you? People taking you totally the wrong way – some even wanting to harm you? Are you fed up with the mixed signals, the lies, and the anger of everybody around you? Do you need someone out there who will at least empathize with your victimization? Well, read on…

        If anyone had legitimate cause to feel victimized, it was the apostle Paul. First, there was the misunderstanding of his friends. He had just returned from years of missionary journeys and the least you’d expect would be that his friends and superiors in Jerusalem would commend him on his work and maybe hold an appreciation dinner or something. But what did they do? They told him to join four men in a Nazarite vow and pay their expenses to boot, just so the “friends” in Jerusalem would not believe the rumors that he had turned his back on the Law of Moses. In a sense, they were demanding that Paul do something wise politically – and Paul, for whatever reason, went along with the plan (maybe it fit his “all things to all men” philosophy). But I’m sure he felt miffed.

        Then, to add insult to injury, his enemies capitalized on Paul’s perceived “tainted ness: in the eyes of his friends by telling all Jerusalem that he had not only turned his back on the Law of Moses, but was teaching all men everywhere to do so. “He’s teaching against our Law, against our nation, and even, God forbid, against the Temple!” This blatant lie really got the people stirred up – in fact they stirred up the city, literally, “throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air” (22:23).

        Nevertheless, Paul might have had some sense of satisfaction in knowing that at least he was being persecuted for Christ. “At least they know who I am. I’m a victim for the Gospel.” Well, if he was thinking this way, you can be sure that bubble burst when the Roman commander, who was trying to save Paul from the mob, looked him full in the face and said, “Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the desert some time ago?” (21:38 NIV). That had to be the final straw! Even his identity was besmirched. So much for a sense of recognition!

        “Nobody loves me. Everybody hates me. And they don’t even know who I am! I’m going out to eat worms.” That’s what you or I might say. Not Paul. He takes his lamps, stands before the mob, and preaches Jesus. So much for serf-pity!

Prayer

        Lord Jesus, You gave Yourself and didn’t pity Yourself. Help us to do likewise. Grant more grace so that we may desire Your approval so much that the approval or disdain of the crowd will seem relatively unimportant.


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