April 22, 2020 – Wednesday
Acts 13:49-52 NIV
49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.
50 But the Jewish leaders 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.
51 So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium.
52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Okay, what city, what region are the first questions that come to mind. When we looked at chapter twelve yesterday, Peter was freed by an angel, Barnabas and Saul were about to be sent on a missionary trip, and King Herod had suffered a horrible death after accepting praise that he was as a god.
In this chapter Barnabas and Saul were sent on a missionary trip that first took them to Cyprus from the seaport at Seleucia. They went through all the towns on the island, but upon reaching the town of Paphos the proconsul wanted to hear about the word of God. Elymas, a sorcerer opposed this and Saul (now also known as Paul) called upon God to blind the sorcerer and he was blinded. As a result the proconsul believed and was amazed at the teachings about Jesus.
From there they sailed to Perga in Pamphylia to Pisidian Antioch. Then on the Sabbath at the synagogue they were permitted to address the people there. Paul addressed (v16) Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me. After giving a brief summary of the history of Israel up to John the Baptist (v25) and Jesus who was rejected by the people and rulers of Jerusalem, then sentenced to death by crucifixion whereupon God raised him from the dead (v30). In conclusion he provided the good news of the forgiveness of sins through Jesus. The people who had heard all of this invited them back to speak on the next Sabbath (v42).
Now we are almost to our verses of the day and we know they are in the city of Pisidian Antioch which is in what is now known as Turkey, but then was known as Phrygia. Its location is shown by this map.
So what happened on the next Sabbath when Paul and Barnabas returned to teach about Jesus once again? Well, virtually the whole town showed up 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. That didn’t stop Paul and Barnabas for they replied 46 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.” Of course 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.
Now we arrive at our verses of the day with a great deal of context. Jews and Gentiles alike were glad to hear about the word of God and Jesus and as Gentiles came to believe the word spread throughout the region. 50 But the Jewish leaders 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. 51 So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
In the next chapter we find At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But more jealously arose once again and eventually Paul and Barnabas had to flee Iconium to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, 7 where they continued to preach the gospel.
It is a wonder how people were (and are today) open to the good news of Jesus when they could hear it freely and openly. The success Paul and Barnabas had should encourage us to also freely and openly share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton