In our penultimate episode from Acts today, we hear about Paul and Silas, who bring freedom to an unnamed slave girl from spiritual possession, and yet, as a consequence, find themselves in a very physical captivity, as they are thrown into jail overnight.
So, what does it mean to be set free? Why is it that in our time we still find ourselves enslaved in so many ways? And how can the chains which bind us today be worked loose, and their hold on us broken?
At the heart of Christianity is a claim: The claim that two thousand years ago, when Jesus of Nazareth died, he died for our sins. The claim that three days later, on the first Easter Day, he was resurrected.
Is it true? Will you believe this claim that Christ was raised from the dead? And if so, what difference will it make to your life, to your world?
Whatever your method of choice, whether it’s exchanging cards, presents, flowers, even planning dramatic acts of devotion, as human beings we are always trying to find ways to express our adoration to one another — whether it’s our partners, our family or friends.
This morning’s gospel reading features a similar act of devotion from Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, as she anoints Jesus with perfume. So what is the significance of this dramatic act, and the reactions of those around Jesus? And how might we be encouraged and challenged in our devotion today?