What grew the Christian church from a group of twelve disciples to over 2.2 billion followers today? Healing! It was people like the apostle Paul, who we read about in the book of Acts, that took their ministry to the streets, demonstrating and practicing Christian healing wherever he went. This month we are coming to the close of our deep study of the Acts of the Apostles, and right up until the end Paul is preaching, teaching, and healing everywhere he goes.
Acts 27 gives the account of what is probably the most harrowing sea journey recorded in the Bible. Paul is being taken to Rome to plead his case before Caesar, and the Roman soldiers tasked with getting him there were in a hurry. In an attempt to navigate rough seas, the ship struck a reef causing it to sink. Everyone on board had to swim to the nearest island, and every person on the ship made it safely. Before long, Paul become very popular with the people inhabiting the island. When he was helping build a fire, a poisonous viper jumped out of the flames and bit his hand. Those who saw it happen thought he was a goner. But when Paul didn’t have any ill effects from the bite, they thought he must be a god. Soon thereafter he was sought to heal Publius’ father, and sick people from all over the island came to him and were healed.
Getting shipwrecked could have been seen as an awful predicament for Paul and his companions to find themselves in. Instead, Paul was able to able to transform this experience into an opportunity to spread Christ healing. What an incredible gift! Paul’s steadfast trust in God to help him in every situation allowed him to do this. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy advises us to always seek good when faced with seemingly evil circumstances: “At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil.” This is what Paul was able to do when the ship sank, or when the poisonous viper sank his teeth into his hand. He was able to steadfastly hold in thought what he knew about God and God’s idea, man. This was a knowledge that God is good and God is all, therefore man as God’s creation can only be good.
When we learn more about the nature of God and the nature of man, we too can stand up to material evidence that stands in the way of our progress and health. In seeing the nothingness of sin, sickness, and death we find healing. We hope you can join us this Sunday, April 10th as we explore more of the lessons Acts has to offer! Join us in the Sunday School at 1:00pm, or online:
To join our Bible Study Google hangout, make sure you have a Google+ account, and add Third Church to one of your Google+ circles. Once you have done this, send your name, email, and Google+ account to ThirdChurchOffice@juno.com with the subject line “Bible Study Hangout″ and we’ll send you further instructions on how to join. If you have any issues getting set up, we’re here to help! Call us at (212) 838-1870 or email ThirdChurchOffice@juno.com.
To join Bible Study on the conference phone, use the dial in number and access code below:
Dial-in Number: 1-310-372-7549
Access Code: 607611