301 - The First Missionary Journey Continues
OCTOBER 28 - Nº 301 Acts 14
After being chased from Antioch Pisidium, Barnabas and Paul went to Iconium. Once again, they entered a Jewish synagogue to explain that Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for. That day, many Jews (as well as Gentiles) put their faith in Jesus. However, the Jews who didn’t believe became very angry! They turned everyone they could against the two outsiders. But Barnabas and Paul did not leave. They stayed and spoke boldly and performed many miracles. Soon the whole city was in an uproar. When the two missionaries found out that some of the city leaders were making plans to stone them, they fled to Lystra. There they continued to share the Gospel message. Among those who came to hear them speak in Lystra was a man who had been lame from his birth. He listened carefully to everything Paul and Barnabas said. Realizing that he had the faith to be healed, Paul called out to him, “Stand up!” Immediately the man stood and began walking. When the crowd saw this, they started yelling, “The gods have come down to visit us in human form!” They assumed that Paul was the Greek god Hermes, since he was the spokesperson of the two, and that Barnabas must be Zeus. A pagan priest from a nearby temple brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates. He planned to help the people offer sacrifices to the two men. This horrified the apostles. They ripped their clothes to show their disapproval and ran among the people saying, “Why are you doing this? We are men just like you. We are here to bring you good news about how you can know the one true God—the only God there is!” During the commotion, the Jews who had chased Barnabas and Paul out of Antioch Pisidium and Iconium arrived. They had pursued the two men hoping to chase them out of the country completely. It didn’t take long for them to turn the fickle crowd against Barnabas and Paul. A now angry mob picked up stones and hurled them at Paul. They dragged his body outside the city gates thinking he was dead. But the new believers gathered around his body to mourn. Suddenly and miraculously, Paul got up and walked back into the city! The next day, Paul and Barnabas left Lystra and traveled to a city called Derbe. There, many people put their faith in Jesus. When it came time to leave Derbe, they traveled back through Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch Pisidium—the very same cities where they had just faced terrible persecution! They appointed leaders and encouraged the believers in these new Galatian churches to stay strong despite the hardships they would inevitably face. Then Paul and Barnabas headed back to their home church in Antioch of Syria. When they arrived, everyone gathered to hear what God had done during the two years they had been away. Paul and Barnabas shared all the amazing things they had witnessed and how God had opened doors so they could bring the message of Jesus to the Gentiles in Galatia. They knew they had completed the work that the church had sent them to do.
Many times, it would have been easy for Barnabas and Paul to give up and go home. But they didn’t! When they finally did return home, they were battered and bruised. But they were filled with joy for all that God had accomplished through them. Do you value God’s work more than your own welfare? So many brave people in the Bible did! Shouldn’t we?