January 06, 2021 – Wednesday
Acts 13:44-48 NIV
44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.
47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” from Isaiah 49:6
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
Yesterday, I said today we would find out what happened on the next Sabbath when Paul and Barnabas were invited back to speak in the synagogue. There you have it above. Please note the Jews spoken of in verse 45 who were filled with jealousy were the leaders of the synagogue. This is to be expected for those who seek the praise of men rather than doing the work of God. Then when others are both serving God and are being praised by men, those who only seek the praise of men become filled with resentment and anger.
We see that above when They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him. Beyond their pride they – the Jewish leaders – also opposed because Jesus was not only presented as their Messiah, but also the deliverer of the Gentiles as well. This was related to their pride as they could not tolerate a message or a Messiah who made the Gentiles equal with them before God.
The scripture above says Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly but could just as easily have said they rebuked them and finished their rebuke by quoting the prophet Isaiah, I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth. And as Paul would write in Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
How did the Gentiles react to Paul’s quoting of Isaiah 49:6? Verse 48 above tells us, When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. They were joyful that the salvation of Jesus was made available to them as well as to the Jews. God had not forgotten them or left them out, His love and grace was clearly extended to them.
That did not go over well with the Jewish leaders as (v49), The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. So they (v50) incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. The good news was it only took eight days plus for The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. The bad news was Paul and Barnabas were kicked out of the region, but it was too late for a church was begun in Antioch that lasted hundreds of years until the Muslim invasions in the early eighth century.
You might think Paul and Barnabas might have been discouraged after being kicked out of Pisidian Antioch but you would be wrong. After being kicked out (v51-52), they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. They continued on doing God’s work in spreading the good news, the gospel, of Jesus Christ and the salvation a grace available to all. They did this with joy and being filled with the Holy Spirit. A lesson for us when we might want to be discouraged.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father – Thank You for a message not to give up when we are rejected for sharing the good news of Your grace and salvation through Your Son, Jesus Christ. – In Jesus name. Amen.