Summary: Paul was surely in contact with God and he had an important message from God for the people that day that Luke records for us here.
APR 28 2013PM The First Missionary Journey Part 2
Acts 13: 14-52
Last time we began the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas. We saw that the church is now centrally located in Syrian Antioch. Jerusalem WAS the home church but the church scattered at the execution of Stephen. So now the church is based in Syrian Antioch, at least from Paul’s aspect.
READ Acts 13:14-15. Now we come to another Antioch; this one is about 300 miles northwest of Syrian Antioch in the region of Pisidia. There is quite of bit of space (the rest of the chapter) that Luke devotes to the events in this city. Paul and his companions went into the Jewish place of worship on the Sabbath day. While they were there, the synagogue rulers invited them to speak. Paul went in and waited for the opportunity to speak and he got it. Here is what he said.
READ Acts 13:16-41. An oracle is the statement of a person in contact with God.
Paul was surely in contact with God and he had an important message from God for the people that day that Luke records for us here.
Paul was formerly a Jew and he knew how they thought and he knew how they interpreted the OT Scriptures. Paul had his own system of theology before he met Christ and Christ had to teach him the Scriptures all over again. The things that Paul previously believed about the Scriptures, these Jews still believed, so he understood where they were spiritually.
Paul reasoned with them from the OT Scriptures how they can be shown to prove that Jesus really was the Messiah. He may have sensed that some of them weren’t receiving his message appropriately and in his conclusion warned them against scoffing at it. So what is going to be the outcome of this message?
READ Acts 13:42-43. The outcome was that Paul and Barnabas were invited to come back next week. The outcome was many of the people believed Paul. Many of them believed in Christ. Many of them wanted to know more. Did they face any opposition?
READ Acts 13:44-50. Again, there was opposition. And again the opposition was from those who ought to know better. The opposition was from those who claimed to know God. The Scripture says that because of the numbers of new people who came, the Jews were jealous.
Clearly there wasn’t this type of interest when the Jews were preaching and this made them jealous of Paul and Barnabas. The Scripture then says that they talked abusively against what Paul was saying. The tense of the verbs indicates that they were doing it while he was talking.
Evidently Paul is preaching and the Jews are interrupting him to tell the people that this is their house of worship and that Paul wasn’t telling them the truth. Now it was one thing for them to sit there the week before and show their disgust to Paul as he preached, but now they are verbally, publicly disputing and contradicting him and his preaching.
These religious people got so upset with Paul that they stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas. But notice that Paul said they were simply giving the Jews the first opportunity at salvation, but since they were rejecting it, they were turning to the Gentiles.
Of course the Gentiles rejoiced. They rejoiced that they were to receive eternal life.
They were going to honor the Word of God by accepting it and living by it. Paul told the Jews that he wasn’t trying to anger them, but he was giving them the first opportunity to receive eternal life. But despite Paul’s well-intentions, the Jews rose up against him and stirred up persecution against them.
Paul shook the dust off his sandals in protest against them as he left town. This would have been a literal obedience to one of Jesus’ commands to the apostles. To do this, Paul and Barnabas would have stooped down and pulled off their sandals and then held them up for all to see and shook the dust from them. It would have been very dramatic. This was no doubt witnessed by those who had just run them out of town.
It would have held grave meaning to the Jews who had been persecuting. The dust of heathen lands was considered to be polluted and unholy by the Jews. For Paul and Barnabas to do this would mean that their city would on the level of a heathen city. The Jews who were watching would understand that Paul was calling them heathens.
READ Acts 13:51-52. Notice that despite all of this, what was the outlook of Paul and Barnabas? They were filled with joy and the HS! How can this be? They had just experienced persecution and had been run out of town. They had recently had John Mark desert them. They had recently experienced opposition from Elymas. But what was their outlook as they proceeded to Iconium? They were full of joy and the HS! How can this be?