Chapter 14: Acts 14: 1-28, Paul’s first missionary journey, Part 2
Heavenly Father, You are the logos, Word of God, Word of creation, Word of Life, Word of Light, Word of Glory, Word of Grace and Truth, and Word of incarnation. We pray that You speak to us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-3, 1 Now, it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. 3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Paul and Barnabas left Antioch of Pisidia and traveled to Iconium. As usual, they spoke in the synagogue. A great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving hostile Jews opposed and bad mouth Paul and Barnabas. Despite this, Paul and Barnabas stayed on for a long time in Iconium, sharing the gospel, moving in miracles, signs, and wonders.
VV 4-7, 4 But the multitude of the city was divided, part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 5 And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, 6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. 7 And they were preaching the gospel there.
The city folks were divided into two camps, some sided with the hostile Jews while the rest sided with Paul and Barnabas. Knowing that the Jews were plotting to stone them, they left Iconium, arrived at Lystra, and preached the gospel there. The ancient cities of Perga, Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe were provinces of Galatia in Asia Minor, which is now Turkey.
VV 8-13, 8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked. 11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.
Paul healed a congenitally crippled man in Lystra. The people of Lystra thought that Paul and Barnabas were incarnations of their mythological gods, Zeus and Hermes. The priest of Zeus brought oxen and garlands. They wanted to sacrifice oxen to Paul and Barnabas and decorate them with garlands.
VV 14-18, 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, 16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” 18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.
Paul and Barnabas tore their clothes and pleaded with them to stop worshiping them as gods. They preached an evangelistic sermon to them. They advise the people to turn away from idols and worship God who created heaven, earth, sea, and everything. God gave them rain, fruits, seasons, food, and joy. Still, the crowd could not resist sacrificing to them.
VV 19-20, 19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
The hostile Jews from Antioch of Pisidia and Iconium came to Lystra, stoned Paul, and dragged him out of the city, thinking that he was dead. When the disciples came, Paul miraculously woke up and went back into the city. The next day, Paul and Barnabas left Lystra and traveled to Derbe.
VV 21-26, 21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 23 So when they had appointed elders in every church and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. 24 And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.
Paul and Barnabas traveled backward to all the cities that they had visited and before, returned to Antioch of Syria. The first missionary journey took them 2 years from 44 to 46 AD, and 1400 miles on foot!
VV 27-28, 27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 So they stayed there for a long time with the disciples.
Paul and Barnabas reported to the church all that happened in their first missionary journey and stayed in Antioch for a long time.
We had a glimpse and lessons on missionary work. A missionary’s calling is very tough. Opposition was severe and the mission was dangerous. Paul was stoned and almost lost his life at Lystra. The Holy Spirit empowered Paul and Barnabas with miracles, signs, and wonders. At Lystra, the people wanted to worship them as gods. You must never worship or idolise people.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this historical first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas from Antioch of Syria to Cyprus and Asia Minor. We offer our bodies to You as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing, as our acceptable worship. We pray for anointing to preach, teach, win souls for You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.