Acts 13:16-25 (NRSV)
16 So Paul stood up and with a gesture began to speak:
“You Israelites, and others who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18 For about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. 19 After he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance 20 for about four hundred fifty years. After that he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21 Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22 When he had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.’ 23 Of this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised; 24 before his coming John had already proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his work, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but one is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of the sandals on his feet.’
In investing, you often hear the phrase, “past performance is not a guarantee of future results.” Just because a firm, or an investor, or a fund, has made money in the past is no guarantee it will continue. That is not the way it is with God.
Throughout the scriptures, the Word of God rehearses God’s faithfulness in the past. In so many different places, the history of God’s working is reiterated as in this passage from Acts. The writer traces God’s salvation history and in this section he begins with the people called Israel enslaved in Egypt. He continues to retell the story of their deliverance, to settling in the land, with a King, and points to David and the promise God made to him, that God would bring one from his line who would be God’s Savior. Paul points to Jesus as the One who is the fulfillment of God’s promises, and that John, who was so influential, wasn’t “worthy to untie the thong of the sandals on his feet.”
When we face our doubts and fears, and when we have our uncertainties, one of the ways we express our faith is by looking at what God has done and trusting that God’s plan, begun so many years ago, is still in effect today. God is still on “Plan A,” and there is no plan B. He is working his salvation story in the life, death, resurrection and exaltation of Jesus. Count on it. It’s good news and always has been, and always will be.