Acts 13:44–52 (ESV)
Paul and Barnabas at Antioch in Pisidia (Part 5)
44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and
Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,
“ ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’
48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout
the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them
and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
When preaching and teaching, the Gospel must be sweeter than the Law. The Gospel must always prevail.
That is the case in today’s reading. At the end of yesterday’s reading, they were begging to hear the Gospel. In today’s reading, “the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.” These people were hungry
for God’s saving Word. The Jews were jealous that Paul was gathering such a following and they tried to contradict Paul’s message. Paul announces that he must take this message first to God’s chosen people, the Jews... but since
they have rejected the message, he now will take this message to the Gentiles. What was the response of the Gentiles? “They began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”
The stirred up the Jews more and they started persecution against Paul and Barnabas. This did not stop Paul and Barnabas, they simply moved on to Iconium.
I pray: O heavenly Father, too often we want to
back off when from sharing the Gospel because our feelings might get hurt. Help us to be bold like Paul and Barnabas who were way beyond feelings, but actually being persecuted. Make me bold and to do your work. Amen.