Pastor Mark’s Devotions, May 23

“Hotspots”

“Now, the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians,

for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day

to see if what Paul said was true.

Acts 17:10-11

 

The term “hotspots” has taken on new meaning over the last few weeks. If you hear the term on the news these days, it will relate to a new outbreak of Covid19 in some part of our country. As of five hours ago, Florida and Texas are states that have been identified as having new “hotspots”. Globally, Brazil and Russia are “hotspots” as new cases and more deaths continue to grow in number.

If you talked about “hotspots” in February, everyone would assume you were talking about Wi-Fi connections. This kind of hotspot relates to a physical location serving as an access point to connect various devices to each another using Wi-Fi.

If you talked about “hotspots” last summer, people would assume you are talking about wildfire containment. 

What if I throw out another meaning for the term, “hotspot”? Hotspots were popping up all over the ancient world after the event of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples at Pentecost. They were filled with new tongues, new power, and a new boldness to testify about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After that, the spread of believers was growing on a daily basis. Jerusalem was the first “hotspot”, but spots continued to emerge in more and more cities. Even as the religious leaders tried to quarantine Peter and John, and contain the spread of the message, they couldn’t stop it. People were being cut to the heart. Miracles were mighty. Boldness was being prayed for and embraced. The Sanhedrin had a contagion on their hands and they had no idea what to do. They whipped and beat these new believers and continued to throw them into isolation but nothing seemed to stop the spread. Acts 8:1 describes what happened when they tried to exert increasing pressure to shut it down: “On that day, a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.” Acts 8:4 states, “Those who had been scattered, preached the word wherever they went.” The apostle Philip went down to Samaria and spread the faith among all the people. Even Simon, the Sorcerer, caught the Spirit and was baptized. Great signs and miracles surfaced wherever the message was shared. (Acts 8:13) An Ethiopian eunuch that was headed home was not only exposed, but became a believer and was baptized. The place was so hot that even the greatest Law enforcement officer, Saul, the Pharisee, was hammered by the Savior. Saul was headed to Damascus, to isolate and contain the new believers and place them in mandatory quarantine. While on the way he was struck by the One leading the Way. He was hit so hard that he was blinded and needed help to get into town. The experience was so profound that his name was changed to Paul, and it reoriented the rest of his life.  

Hotspots continued to pop up in Lydda, Joppa, and Caesarea. It spread to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch.

Acts chapter 17 does describe a people in Thessalonica that displayed an immunity to the message. Brother Paul and Silas had to leave at night and travel to Berea. But the Bereans caught the full brunt of the Word. Acts 17:11 states, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” The Bereans put Paul through the full measure of testing to make sure he was truly containing the truth. And he tested positive! The conditions were right. Acts 17:12 confirms, “Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.”

Since then, hotspots have continued to pop up in unknown places among unknown people for the last 2,000 years. And the Word has continued to spread. No one has been able to quarantine the Word. Hotspots continue to emerge.

Will hotspots pop up in Stanwood and Camano Island? Will it surface in the “Rain Shadow”? Will a hotspot emerge at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church? With all our hearts. Let us pray, “Please, Yes, Lord Jesus. Let the spread of your Word move in us and through us. Let the truth infect our hearts and the rest of the globe.”

Can you feel it? It’s starting to warm up!

God Bless You All,

Pastor Mark