In the year 47 B.C.—14 years after the Romans had executed Jesus, thinking they were done with him, but God raised him from the dead by his mighty power—a short, middle-aged Jewish man, probably getting a little thin on top, stepped aboard a ship. With him was his taller, more outgoing friend, Barnabas. The two set sail, leaving behind the Roman province of Syria in the eastern Mediterranean, travelling three hundred miles west and a bit north. When they reached solid ground, they hiked one hundred miles up the mountains of the Roman province of Galatia (what is today considered eastern Turkey). As soon as the Sabbath came around, Paul and Barnabas went into the local synagogue. As guests they were invited to bring a word, and so they did. Thanks to Luke's careful scholarship in Acts 13, we know what they said: "We tell you the good news. What God promised our fathers, he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you." In other words, Paul was telling them that they did not have to live with guilt and shame—that there is forgiveness of sins through Jesus. Paul continues: "And through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses." In other words, Paul was saying, "You've been laboring in this religious tradition for so many years. But even in all that labor, have you ever felt like you were totally right with God? Here is the good news: you can be right with God through belief in Jesus, who died for your sins and was raised from the dead."
That's not just good news. That's amazing news.
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