28 Weeks Acts Devotion Week 19
WEEK 19 - ACTS 19 - December 17, 2018
Written by Rev. Dr. Craig Stinson; director of Connectional Ministries, Oklahoma Annual Conference
How do you know what you know?
“Jose played soccer.” This is a perfectly complete sentence in English. But if we spoke the Tariana language, a direct translation of these words would be an incomplete sentence that makes no sense.
Tariana is a language that requires evidential markers. If you make a claim, you must also state how it is that you know it to be so. Did you see it for yourself? Did someone tell you about it? Did you decide it must be true based on other things you know? In Tariana, you must show your evidence by the suffix you use.
“Jose played soccer ka” – (we saw him playing.)
“Joes played soccer mahka” – (we heard him playing.)
“Jose played soccer nihka” – (we infer from visual evidence.)
“Jose played soccer sika” – (we assume on the basis of what we already know.)
“Jose played soccer pidaka” – (we were told.)
In Acts 19, The Way is trying to find its boundaries.
Is faith only of repentance, or of the power and presence of the Spirit? (19:2-6)
Is a regular building in the heat of the day as appropriate for conversing about the faith as a synagogue? (19:9-10)
Can a person take a game-worn jersey of Paul’s and say the same words he says and cast out demons? (19:11-16)
There in Ephesus, our eyes are drawn upwards, almost involuntarily, to the magnificence of the Temple of Aphrodite, one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. And who can resist being intrigued by the stone that fell from heaven? (19:35). But the key to observing the early church at work in Acts 19 may be in noticing that The Way seems to be about a different kind of “knowing.” The faith of the disciples of John the Baptist was not complete until they received the Holy Spirit – a personal experience of the risen Christ. Ironically, even the demon understood different kinds of “knowing,” as he said to the magicians, “Jesus I know [ginosko - recognize], Paul I know [epistamai - experience firsthand], but who are you?” (19:15)
And later, as the mob incited by the silversmith union shouts down poor Alexander, we learn that “most of them did not know why they had come together.” (19:32)
How do you know what The Way is calling you to do? How do you know what you know about Jesus? Is it something you were told? Is it something you read? Did you hear the testimony of someone who experienced him firsthand? Did you hear a voice? Have you seen things with your own eyes?
What if the English language required evidential markers in order for us to make our faith claims? If we all spoke Tariana, we would have to add a suffix that shows how we know what we claim about Jesus.
That might not be too far from how it was for the first followers of The Way.
Suggested reading schedule
• Monday - Acts 19
• Tuesday - Acts 19:1-7
• Wednesday - Acts 19:8-10
• Thursday - Acts 19:11-16
• Friday - Acts 19:17-22
• Saturday - Acts 19:23-31
• Sunday - Acts 19:32-41
Reflection question: As we move closer to the celebration of Christmas, how will you tell others about what you know of the incarnation?
Prayer focus: Employees of the Oklahoma United Methodist Ministry Center
If you wish to contact the delegation via email the address is firstname.lastname@example.org