Daily Word

Don’t skip a beat | Acts 14:19-23

19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.

21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Acts 14:19-23 (ESV) 中文

1st Missionary Journey

Paul and Barnabas are on the first missionary journey of the church, sent out by the church at Antioch. They’ve been to Cyprus, Perga, Antioch of Pisidia and Iconium. The jealous Jews often kicked them out of the city so they head to the next city where they do ministry, have success, then get kicked out again. Now they’re in Lystra and resisting being honored as gods for healing a man and…killed.

Godhood lost

Wow! What a quick transition. In the last passage they were being treated like gods. Now those same worshippers are stoning their “god” with the intent to kill him! All because some jealous Jews made a special trip all the way (some 100 miles) from Antioch of Pisidia and Iconium to Lystra just to cause trouble for Paul and Barnabas. Paul later refers to this stoning event in 2 Corinthians 11:25.

God’s not dead!

But their “god” wasn’t dead. Somehow, maybe miraculously, he revived as the disciples stood around him – it’s likely they were praying. But he didn’t get outta Dodge, he went back into the city! Is Paul nutz!? Maybe he did it to spite them, saying, “You can’t keep a good man down.” Did the gentiles see him and wonder if he actually was a god? “In Acts 16:1, we learn of a young Christian in Lystra and his mother – Timothy. Perhaps Timothy saw all this and was inspired to the high call of the gospel by noticing Paul’s courage and power in ministry.” (enduringword.com)

Don’t skip a beat

After a day of recovery, they took off for Derbe where they likely did the same. Luke only reports they made many disciples. How long they were there we don’t know. Amazingly, Paul and Barnabas boldly returned to these same cities where they had been persecuted and kicked out. They knew they needed to establish leadership and provide more teaching. Such a commitment to the church, the Gospel! 

What specifically did they do – that we may learn? They:

  • strengthened the souls of those who had decided to follow Jesus
  • Encouraged them to continue in the faith
  • Told them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. See note below.
  • They appointed elders for them in every one of the churches; with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord.

RЯeflection

  • Unfortunately in many of today’s churches, preaching shies away from suffering for Christ. Especially in many mega churches a watered-down gospel of “believe in Jesus and He will bless your life” is preached. Many are inoculated against the true gospel. People will give and keep coming if this is what you preach.
  • How seriously do we take our Christian responsibilities? Do prayer and fasting reflect a heart in you devoted to the work of the Lord? Don’t feel condemned but encouraged to start now.
Heat skips a beat. Image from healtheuniversity.ca *

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