The Visiting Preacher
Pastor Cornelius R. Stam
Paul and Barnabas had seated themselves in the large synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. They were soon recognized as “clergymen,” however, for “after the reading of the law and the prophets” they were asked whether either of them might have some word of “exhortation” for those who had gathered.
These details are important, for as Moses, in giving the Law, had declared God’s moral standards, the prophets had for centuries challenged the people to obey the Law and had warned them of the dire consequences of breaking its commands. Hence, in the synagogues passages were generally read from the Law and the prophets, and the religious leaders would then “exhort” the people to heed the prophets and obey the Law.
Paul and Barnabas, the visiting preachers, therefore, were asked whether either of them had a “word of exhortation for the people.” Paul responded to the invitation but, rather than merely exhorting his hearers to keep the Law, he proclaimed Christ, who in love had died for all lawbreakers, closing with these words:
“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38,39).
How we need this message today! We may forever exhort one another to keep the Law, but who of us has not already broken it? Let us thank God, then, that He is a loving Savior as well as a just Judge and that as God the Son He paid for our sins Himself at Calvary so that we might be “justified freely by His grace.”
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13).
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).