Reading For Wednesday Acts 14:1-28
Paul and Barnabas journey to Iconium, which is modern Turkey, and continue their pattern by going to the synagogue first to preach the gospel. The Spirit is working powerfully through the preaching of Paul and many people believe including both Jews and Greeks. However, the mission team encounters further persecution and difficulty as the unbelieving Jews stir up the Gentiles instead of only the Jews. The team remains steadfast in their purpose, continuing to speak the truth of the Lord. The Spirit authenticated their work through signs and wonders, but the city was divided over the apostles. The tension finally erupted when an attempt was to mistreat and stone this mission team. When this band of missionaries learned of the plot, the fled to other cities where they continued to preach the gospel.
In Lystra, they came across a man that had been crippled since birth. Paul saw that he had the faith to be made whole, and he adjured the man to stand, which he did, and he began to walk around. The Gentiles of the city lifted their voices drawing from a pluralistic background and saw them as gods that had come down to visit them. The priest from the local temple brought gifts and wanted to offer sacrifices to these two missionaries. When Paul and Barnabas learned of this, they tore their garments and implored the people to stop because they were just mere men. They wanted these people to turn to the living God, but the people were intent on continuing. However, Jews from the cities that they had recently visited came down and convinced the people to stone Paul. They dragged his body out of the city, and everyone thought that he was dead, but when they gathered around him, he simply got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas went on to the Derbe. They preached the gospel and again, many became disciples. They returned to the cities they had previously visited for encouragement and explaining that it would be through tribulation that the kingdom of God would be entered. They appointed elders in every church with prayer and fasting. They finally returned to Antioch, the place where this journey began. They gathered the church, recounted all that God had done, and explained how God had opened a door to the Gentiles.
Things To Consider:
Have you been persecuted for your faith? How and when?
How should face challenges and persecution when we have been commanded by the Lord to fulfill our mission?
Why are so many confused about the gospel?
How can we strengthen our fellow disciples?
Why is it through tribulation that we must enter the kingdom of God?
Why are church leaders appointed?
Why is it important to tell the stories of God's faithfulness in the church?