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
I said in the last Gem, those who “heard” this sermon in Antioch were left with questions so too you will be. Voice your questions in order to make your point and be heard. Now for your questions following which I will add the three verses that I felt to comment on: (Just Ian maintaining the suspense)
“Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and leaders of the city, and they incited a mob.” Who were these influential people? (Ross)
Is there some cultural background in this Antioch that women held an influential position compared to in jews culture that day where women is considered second class ? (Andre)
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.'” – which command does Paul refers to ? Is it cross reference to another verse ? (I.e acts 9:15 ? But there wasn’t any mention about lights in the verse) (Andre)
So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection – where did they pick up on this gesture, isn’t it supposed to be what Jesus told the 70 disciples back then, but Paul or Barnabas was not there wasn’t it ? Or is it the culture back in that day to do that ? (Andre)
“They incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town.” Why did they just run them out of town when most mobs would have killed them. The nature of the mob violence is normal to exceed the bounds of rationality and restraint. Why were Paul and Barnabas just run out of town and not killed? Wouldn’t that be more in line with the desire of the Jewish leaders? (Alan)
A number of readers asked questions related to that chaotic sermon and the pragmatics involved but I feel I have covered that now. I always intended to do that because it interested me.
The three verses I wish to comment on are:
- 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. (13:46)
- 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. (13:48) This was the verse which attract most of your questions.
- So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium. (13:51)
I am sure there are many of you who sent in questions who have wondered “why is my question not mentioned?” Some of those people mentioned above asked about verse 46 or the other two verses. Anything related to these three verses I clipped out. Simply I didn’t want to disclose the three verses too soon, so left the questions related to those three verses out. So now you know the matters that remain to be covered, you can focus your own attention on answering some or all of these questions before I cover them one by one. All of my best resources are back home in my study in Auckland but I will do my best to cover three issues within each of these verses with the resources I have – E–Sword and Computer.
Some others asked for a progress report on the unrest in our city: We had a strangely quiet Saturday after the protest and violence of the day before. Sunday was normal and no tension was in the air when we went to church. It is all a little alike – Antioch at the time we are studying, the US at the time of this election and Jakarta at this time of unrest related to the allegations against the Christian governor. The tendency to mob violence normally continues to simmer until the issue has died. The issue or the people causing it. Here in the city at the moment we find ourselves in a hiatus or a lull in the potential violence. I find it interesting that I am writing about this passage of the Bible at a time when here in the city and likely across America people are thinking similar thoughts and feeling similar feelings. We are all waiting with bated breath to see what happens next. The same feeling should be captured in these Gems. Over the last days I have taught Deeper Bible on Monday night and have been reading 500 + birthday greetings over the last two days. I have learned not to respond and thank people because that then generates another flood of birthday greetings and or further responses. I am resting in the overwhelming love poured out.
Join with us in praying for the Governor who is not feeling any love poured out and for those in America caught in the tension related to the pending results of the election. It is too late to pray for what happened in Antioch. That is now history.
We will start working our way through the questions above in the coming Gems and then move on to Acts 14.
You Are Not Responsible For Another’s Improvement… But You Are Responsible To Reward The Improvement You Discover In Others.Robb Thompson
Make your Past your teacher; not your Jailer!Rick Godwin
No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.C.S. Lewis
Bad habits have short-term benefits but long-term consequences.A R Bernard
A man who cannot communicate his ideas is on the same level as one who has no ideas.Sidney Mohede
Never allow your attitude to be persuaded by another person’s bad day.Ian Vail