Building on the psalm quoted yesterday……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.
The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 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. 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.’”
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. 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. 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.
Comment: What funny people we humans are! Not just the Jews, as seen here, but so often the slightest thing upsets us and we go off at a tangent. At the end of last Sabbath’s insight, as shared by Paul, the Synagogue people had been keen to hear more. But when many from the local gentiles started listening keenly to his continued teaching some of the Jewish authorities, seeing their grip over the people slipping away, stirred up strife and in addition got the powerful ladies club to make as much trouble as possible. Paul and Barnabas seized the opportunity to extend their message to the gentiles. Those who had turned to Jesus in faith we are told were full of Joy, and the Holy Spirit was active in their midst. Paul and Barnabas were driven off to Iconium. As Jesus had taught them to, when rejected, they showed their attitude by ‘shaking the local dust’ from their shoes. So they went to Iconium, prepared to share the ‘good news’ there as well.
Prayer: Thank You for the courage of many to see that Your message was and is still being shared world-wide, Lord Jesus.