Bible 1 Yr – Day 75 – On a mission from God

Today we read about Paul sent out on his first journey to evangelize the known world. Paul is in Antioch at a Church there. The Holy Spirit appears to their leadership and gives Paul and Barnabas the mission to begin evangelizing the far reaches of the world. (Note, this is when Saul starts being referred to a Paul, which is the gentile version of his name).

Notice what the Church does before sending Paul out:

Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

We have seen the laying on of hands before. First when Peter and the Apostles commissioned the deacons or official helpers. And next when Peter confirmed the new converts in Samaria. Remember the text says that in laying on his hands Peter conferred the Holy Spirit on the new converts. Consider that in the context here. All the leaders of the Church in Antioch were praying together. They all heard the Holy Spirit say to set Paul and Barnabas apart. Clearly this mission is already blessed by the Holy Spirit. Why did they have to lay hands on Paul and Barnabas before they set off?

It has to be more than that they were just praying for them and the success of their mission. They could have done that without the laying on of hands. Every time we see the laying on of hands it comes with a conveying of office or authority. Peter did it to give authority and office to the deacons. When the converts of Samaria receive the laying on of hands they directly receive the Holy Spirit again and they become part of the priesthood of all believers. I remember that when I received the laying on of hand the bishop told us that it was now our mission to spread the Gospel. As we have seen, in the Old Testament the laying on of hands confers the Levitical priesthood.

So even though Paul and Barnabas are directly commissioned by the Holy Spirit for this journey of evangelization they still receive the laying on of hands from the Church at Antioch. This is because, as Paul will later teach, the Church IS the body of Christ in the world, the fullness of Him who is all in all. It is reflected at Paul’s conversion when Jesus says, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute ME”. The Church and the Lord are so closely related that Paul and Barnabas CANNOT go on this mission UNLESS they have the blessing of the Church.

This goes back to what we read yesterday in the Old Testament when Aaron and Miriam that that they too spoke for the Holy Spirit. God may it very clear that despite their subjective feelings that only Moses spoke for Him. The same thing is happening here. The Church CONFIRMS the work of the Holy Spirit. This double check protects the Gospel from corruption. It insures that the plan of God unfolds as He wills it. It shows the cooperation and unity of the Triune God. The Father wills it, the Holy Spirit conveys that will, the Church which is the Body of Christ in the World, enacts it.

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8 Responses to Bible 1 Yr – Day 75 – On a mission from God

  1. Jon musso says:

    I appreciate your writing but we just see the implications of this text differently! Again thanks for your writing!

    • I understand that you have a different interpretation and I sincerely sympathize with your efforts to reconcile these texts. At this point I’ve shown you the laying on of hands in the Old Testament which was clearly and unequivocally used for the ordination of priests. This priesthood continued despite the passing of other religious leaders Moses died and Joshua took over, then the Judges, then the Kings, then the prophets. All the while, the high priest and the priesthood remained. The Apostles would have known this and they clearly picked up the practice of laying on of hands. They would not have done this if Jesus had not instructed them to. We see them use this practice to ordain deacons. Thus, we see continuity with the OT. We see that even though Jesus himself appeared and converted Paul, the still has hand laid on him at his baptism and before he leaves on his evangelistic mission. Later, we will read the Paul directs Timothy to continue this process.

      No one wants to be under authority, especially when that authority comes in human form with all its foibles, mistakes and sometimes even corruption. Yet Jesus himself said of the Temple priests to “do as they say but not as they do for they teach the word of God but live as hypocrites”. We see even this principle picked up in the apostolic age when Peter makes a mistake and is rebuked by Paul but remains leader of the Apostles. You are free to accept or reject my analysis but before you do ask yourself a question ….

      Can so many threads that weave together into such a seamless tapestry really be wrong, a mistake, a misinterpretation, luck or coincidence?

      I remember when I realized the truth of what the Church is. I hated it (the realization that is). Now I would have to change. Now I would have to stop doing what I wanted and I would have to listen to the Church. I saw the rules, rules and more rules. I’d have to go to Mass and holy days of obligation and worst of all … confession. But God knows what is good for us. Rules, sacraments and most especially the Mass and the Eucharist free us from sin. Not in the ultimate way the life, death and resurrection of the Lord free us but in the human way. It frees us from habit, from excuses and from error. They take the human failings that sin uses to get its hooks into us and allows us to better walk the path with the Lord. Soon, where I once saw rules now I see love. Where I once saw priest and bishops and popes giving orders now I saw the mercy of truth. Where I once saw Mass as an hour I didn’t get to sleep in on Sundays I now see the wedding feast of the lamb that the Lord himself attends. It was hard to admit but I had to follow truth.

      • Jon musso says:

        I’m just not catholic. I appreciate your faith, I think the scripture promote a personal relationship with Christ more than the priesthood ministry you hold to! I think the scripture promote a priesthood that was fullfilled in the son, and now we are fully in submission to the son alone through faith alone.Again I thank you very much for challenging me to study even harder, you have strengthen my faith, and have encourage me to learn more, but yes I am a Protestant believer. I believe as much as the reformation made allot of mistake, they recognize how the Catholic Church, has missed the relational aspect of christian faith. I think catholic are believers and I appreciate the church, but I think the church needs to conceed a work built faith, a symbolic look at God through rituals, and most importantly focus more on relationship less on the legalistic pyradyme! I praise for studying truth God bless!

  2. Allow me challenge you some more. In the Old Testament, there was the High Priest, the ministerial levitical priests and the universal priesthood of all of Israel. In the New Testament we have the new high priest – Jesus Christ and we have the universal priesthood of all the baptized. Again, notice how the thread connect. The high priesthood is fulfilled in Jesus. The universal priesthood of Israel is fulfilled in the universal priesthood of the baptized. What happened to the ministerial priesthood? How is that fulfilled in the New Testament? Why would God fulfill 2 and not the 3rd? And why would the Apostles maintain the laying on of hands if they were not fulfilling the ministerial priesthood at the instruction of Jesus?

    I also want you to know about my relationship with Jesus. Catholics DO NOT believe in symbols. We preach exactly the opposite. I believe that the bread and wine of the Eucharist IS the Body and Blood of the Lord. Not that is symbolizes him, not that it represents him, not that it is a metaphor. The Eucharist is GOD himself. What more of a personal relationship could I have with him than that? The consecrated hosts are kept in the front of the Church. I won’t even walk into a Church without kneeling before him. I’ve sat for hours in a chapel and prayed in front of consecrated host. I have seen video of these host turn into actual flesh and be preserved unchanged for 500+ years. I feel that I would die rather than deny the truth of the real presence of the Lord in the Eucharist (I pray God to give me the strength should that day ever come).

    I can show you writings from the 1st century. From the believers who learned the faith from the Apostles. They testify to the same thing. Jesus himself said, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” Jn 6:56 Do you see what He is saying. Not just that if you eat his flesh and drink his blood that you have life in you but that whoever eats and drinks ABIDES in Him and He in us. To abide it to live with, to remain or continue in relationship with.

    I can’t make you believe, not even the Holy Spirit can do that. All I can do is show you over and over, again and again that the Catholic understanding of scripture unifies the whole scripture – Old and New. I have a high priest in the OT, I have a high priest in the NT. I have a universal priest hood in the OT, I have a universal priesthood in the NT. I have a ministerial priesthood in the OT and I have a ministerial priesthood in the NT. I have a sacrificed passover lamb that must be eaten to defeat the angel of death in the OT and I have a sacrificed passover lamb that must be eaten to definitively defeat death in the NT.

    In a small way your right, I don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, I have a relationship that infinitely transcends that because through the Eucharist we transcends the limits of our human relationships and partake of the divine nature – as Peter teaches in his epistle. “by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature…” 2Pe 1:4

    • Jon musso says:

      I appreciate the continuity you find in scripture, but you also have to see the dispensations! Take the Old Testament food rituals, we see them fullfilled in the New Testament when Paul says the food rituals are fullfilled eat what ever you want as christ fulfills the animal sacrifices! Fullfilled does not cancel the Old Testament but there a movement from Old Testament sacrifices to the new covenant, we move from the apostle age to the new covenant promises of this age! The priest hood covenants was a special time in history but there dispensation from that time to the present time! God bless

      • Jon musso says:

        I understand I really do, but if what your saying is true than israel should still be the true church which you don’t believe because you believe Catholic church is the true church! The question is not about do you see dispensations you do the question is where! God bless thanks

  3. Your insight on Israel and the true Church is very perceptive. That is why the Church teaches that Israel REMAINS the chosen people. In fact, Jesus said that He will return when the Jewish people call him Lord. Thus, a large scale conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity is considered the most reliable sign of the end times. But Israel remaining the chosen people doesn’t exclude the Catholic Church being the one true Church.

    I know you love the Lord. And I know that you know that all these connections cannot be sewn into the scriptures by human minds. These are the marks of the Lord. The sign posts on the road to salvation. We will see them again and again over the rest of the year.

    • Jon musso says:

      I will tell you this I enjoy our discussion and I certainly rather talk to you like this instead of those shots we tend to throw out against each other! I know Protestant and catholic perceive the scripture differently, but I have to believe reasoning together with out obnoxious remarks is what we are called to do! I know I certainly have thrown your way and dave I apologize for that I have no excuse for my actions! Please forgive me because I’m genuinely sorry for my obnoxious behavior! God bless! The truth is you have made me a better follower and I do thank you!

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