Monday, August 9, 2010

Bold as a Lion

One of my favorite people in the whole Bible is a man who very few people would recognize. He was a Jew from Alexandria and named after the Greek sun god, Apollo. There are actually only 5 verses about him. That's it. Not much to go on, is it? But I really want you to check out the character of this guy, specifically his boldness.

Apollos is a man found in Acts 18:24-28. He was a man trained in the Scriptures, so most likely he grew up in a traditional Jewish home, learning the scriptures and memorizing the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) from his earliest days. He would have learned the Sh'ma that I wrote about earlier and, like every good Jew, would have said it morning and night as a prayer to the Lord.

Now here are some character qualities that I love about this guy:

-he was eloquent and competent in the Scriptures (vs 24)
-fervent in spirit (passionate) (vs 25)
-taught accurately what he knew about Jesus even though he didn't know very much (vs 25)
-spoke boldly in the synagogues (probably to Pharisees and leading religious leaders who did not believe Jesus was the King and Messiah they had been waiting for since the time of Abraham.) (vs26)
-when he was more informed about Jesus from Aquila and Priscilla, friends of the Apostle Paul,he left his home and went and aided his brothers in Christ "greatly helping those who by faith had believed" (vs 26-27)
-he powerfully and publicly spoke out against Jews, showing through the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for and who had been foretold to them- the Lion of the tribe of Judah(vs 28)

OK, so this guy knows his Bible and uses the scriptures to prove Christ's deity. Even when he doesn't know the whole story, he preaches boldly of what he does know. And then when he does know the whole story, he leaves everything familiar to go help his brothers and sisters in Christ and speak publicly and boldly about Jesus as Messiah. Wow!! My kind of guy. This guy had no fear, he was passionate about Jesus, and even as an eloquent guy, he didn't use his own words - he spoke only the Scriptures. What a testimony in only a few verses! This was one mighty man of God.

So how does this relate to lions? Well, Proverbs 28:1 says this, "The wicked flees when no one pursues, but the righteous are as BOLD AS A LION." Does that sound like Apollos to you? It does to me. It also humbles my excuses that I need to know more before I tell others about Jesus. Well here is a news flash - you aren't EVER going to know everything about the One who called himself the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. If you did, He wouldn't be God. He is beyond our complete understanding. But, he has called us to share about Him. We actually have more knowledge and information at our fingertips than Apollos ever had. He would have died to have a complete Bible, a love letter from the Christ he so boldly championed and shared. This man had a passionate relationship with Jesus. I truly believe he was righteous and because of that, the Lord equipped and enabled him to be as bold as a lion. So, we have no excuse not to share. Tough pill to swallow, huh? For me, too.

Will you claim the title of "righteous" and be like Apollos, no matter how little your knowledge base about Jesus? Will you boldly share of His love and mercy and grace to a culture that is cutting Him out of every facet? Will you go head to head with the religious and political leaders of our day who try to make Him an icon instead of Lord of Lords? Boldness comes from the Messiah who first claimed to be a Lion, and He alone has the power to make you as bold as a lion - mighty, stately, and strong for Him. Will you let Him? That is my prayer for the body of Christ. It is time to rise up, Church of God, and be as bold as lions.

One of my favorite fiction authors, Linda Chaikin, writes in her Arabian Winds series that upon getting up every morning Jews would say, "Rise up like a lion, in service of our Lord." Whether or not it is culturally true to the Jewish people, it is a mighty call. Will you rise up like a lion in service of our Lord?

Praying for boldness,

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