As Paul and Barnabas left the synagogue that day, the people begged them to speak about these things again the next week. Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God. The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said.
Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. For the Lord gave us this command when he said, ‘I have made You a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.'”
When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region.
Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium.
And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.Acts 13:42-52
What an interesting passage of Scripture after such a comprehensive and pointed sermon! Did you see the different types of reactions?
- The Positive
- The Negative
- Those who were only interested in debate, a good discussion.
- The reaction of the Gentiles
- The reaction of the Jews
- Those motivated by jealousy
- Those motivated by their desire to be right with God – in gaining eternal life.
What a remarkable passage which lays bare the depth of human hearts. As I said at the end of the previous Gems, test your reaction to see where you are at on the continuum. It may be revealing to you and enable you to make some changes. Spend the time pondering your position and the implications which go with it. I plan to deal with each category one by one in the coming Gems. Be sure your reactions will give you an insight to the state of your heart within.
Note also Paul and Barnabas’ reaction to the hearers reactions. That also may be of help in determining your course of action when you both encounter opposition, indifference or rejection. Note also that these initial reactions set the tone or the attitude for the different categories of people for the rest of the book of Acts. Be careful. Choose your rut carefully, you may be in it for a long time. We think we are the ones in control of our destiny, but are we? When you set your heart in opposition to the things of God you may well find the course you choose is then set for you.
Remember when Pharaoh hardened his heart against God, God then hardened Pharaoh’s heart and set him on the path he had chosen. Ex 8:15, 32; 9:12, 34, 35; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10,
Remember when Esau rejected his birth right and held animosity in his heart toward his brother, when he sought repentance with tears, it was not forthcoming. (see Heb 12:16-17 and the Jacob and Esau story).
Be aware, be very aware, that the choices you make determine your future.Ian Vail
Learn to discern where people are at. Not everyone you encounter is ready for the FULL gospel.Ian Vail
To heap TRUTH on someone who is not ready for it only results in condemnation and judgement.Ian Vail
The difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.Anon
Change is the essence of maturation. People who refuse to change never grow up!A.R. Bernard
You don’t have to figure everything out today; you just have to take that next step.Anon