First Journey Yes and No
Series: Pre Pauline Letters
Acts 13:42-43 ESV
Acts 13:44 ESV
Acts 13:45 ESV
Acts 13:46-47 ESV
Acts 13:48-49 ESV
Acts 13:50-52 ESV
Luke 9:5 ESV
The Message of Jesus spoken by Paul (and Barnabas) in the Hebrew Synagogue was very well received in Antioch in Pisidia. The message was so well received that in Acts 13:42-43 we read “As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.”
Wow! The message of Jesus was well presented and well received in Antioch! If I would have been there with Paul and Barnabas I would have been praising God and dancing!
Then we are told in Acts 13:44, “The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.”
What a blessing!
It just keeps getting better and better…
Then after what started out to look like it was going to be a very positive and fruitful service, the Hebrew crowd turned, as they say, “sour”. We learn in Acts 13:45 that
“when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him.”
Just when things looked like it was all coming together, because the Jews were jealous of Paul and Barnabas, they spoke out against them. Paul’s own people spoke against him. Paul was Hebrew by birthright. He spent his life studying in Hebrew school and now his own people had turned on him because they were jealous!
Then, “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. 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’” (Acts 13:46-47).
Boy…the jealous Jewish fellows did NOT see that coming. Paul and Barnabas didn’t hesitate. They even announced to the jealous Jews that they were given the first chance but since they “thrust it aside” they lost their chance.
NOW we turn to the Gentiles. We will give what was YOURS to the Gentiles.
I’m not sure in our context we can fully grasp what a slap in the face that was to the jealous Jewish brothers! They were the chosen people. They were called by God. They’d always been the chosen people.
How dare Paul and Barnabas give their ‘place’ away to the Gentiles!
Who did Paul and Barnabas think they were dealing with?
I’m pretty sure that the men were indignant and insolent. I mean, who did these two men think they were dealing with?
How dare Paul and Barnabas pass the blessing they deserved on to Gentiles in the crowd…but that’s exactly what Paul and Barnabas did. By the power of Almighty God, they made it clear that the Gentiles would now be the light to the world.
The message to the Gentiles was heard and received loud and clear. In Acts 13:48-49 we learn,
“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. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.”
The Gentiles did not hesitate to take up the banner of salvation. They received it with great joy and they glorified God for the promise. More than that…they BELIEVED! They fully received God’s promise of salvation of eternal life.
I think the jealous Jews who were so determined to hold onto their way of life as it had always been really thought they were still in charge. They decided they would just have to ‘get back’ at Paul and Barnabas and “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. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:50-52).
Paul and Barnabas were NOT dissuaded. They did not blink.
Basically they said, “whatever dudes”, you can drive us out but we accomplished what God wanted us to accomplish. God called them to give the blessing to whoever would receive it and that’s exactly what they did!
Then…they shook off the dust on their feet and they went on down the road to their next gig in Iconium.
Shake off the dust! That’s exactly what Jesus told his disciples to do when the Word was not received. In Luke 9:5 we’re told, “And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”
The Jews were jealous over some petty thing and they did not receive the message God sent to them through Paul and Barnabas. The two who were sent to deliver the message accomplished exactly what God wanted.
Offer freedom; eternal freedom.
Offer salvation to all who will receive it.
They have a choice and if they choose to receive it, salvation will be there’s. But if they reject it, God will give the blessing to someone else. Having done just that, Paul and Barnabas left filled with joy and sailed off into the sunset to their next stop!
Spiritual Practice: Receive
Open your hands and your heart and ask God what He has for you.
In God, Deborah