Today is part seven in our summer series. We are looking at God's message for us today from the Book of Acts.
I'm calling this series Our Turn. That's because this book tells us that the things God began to do in the world through Jesus Christ, he now continues to do through us, his people, also called the Church. It's our turn to pick up where Jesus and his apostles left off.
Today we will talk about one of my top five heroes in the Bible. He is basically a minor character in the story with a major impact. His name is Apollos. Most Christians have never heard about him. But he inspires me.
Our topic today is this:
Let me read our Scripture passage, and then I have a story for you.
"Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ." (Acts 18:24-28)
The Non Miracle
You may recall a few years back when a US Airways passenger plan made an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York City.
What caused it? A bird strike. Engines failed. The plane, surrounded by skyscrapers, had nowhere to go.
Nowhere but the river.
The pilot ditched the aircraft.
Someone who had a friend on that aircraft contacted me. They said there was no panic. The crew operated flawlessly. No screams. No freaking out. It was as quiet as a library.
The only voice you could hear was a man with his hand on the lever to open the emergency exit.
And that man was praying.
The plane landed. The exits were opened.
The passengers used the emergency exits, boats rushed to evacuate the plane, everything was peaceful and orderly. Not one life was lost, and no one was hurt.
It was a remarkable event.
When a movie was made about this moment, Tom Hanks played Sully, Captain Chesley B. Sullenburger III, the pilot of that aircraft.
The safe landing was called a miracle.
"We've had a 'Miracle on 34th Street,' now we have a miracle on the Hudson." That's how New York's Governor, David Peterson, summed it up.
Countless news outlets called it The Miracle on the Hudson.
I am always happy when secular leaders ascribe good outcomes to God.
It was a miracle, but only with a small 'm'.
In theology, a true Miracle occurs only when God temporarily suspends the laws of nature to accomplish his gracious purposes.
I believe in miracles. I believe that Jesus literally walked on water and raised the dead. I believe that God parted the Red Sea and then sent it crashing back over the Egyptian army. I believe in miracles.
The safe water landing of Flight 1549, however, was not a miracle. It was a wondrous rescue, an answered prayer, and a heartwarming story. But it was not the suspension of the laws of nature or physics.
It was not a Miracle. It was, instead, something better than a miracle. Something far more meaningful to us today.
It was an undeniable validation of a reality and a truth that I want to teach today and show you from the life of Apollos.
The truth is this:
God uses prepared people.