Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Al Campbell: https://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Acts 14 (ESV)
Paul and Barnabas at Iconium
14 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4 But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5 When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6 they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7 and there they continued to preach the gospel.
Paul and Barnabas at Lystra
8 Now at Lystra, there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas, they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.
Paul Stoned at Lystra
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.
Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria
24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples.
How would you share the Gospel differently with a Jewish person than you would a non-Jewish person?
You are the one true God for all people of all nations. Paul and Barnabas went out to preach Your Word to both Jews and Gentiles. Your message of forgiveness, mercy, and grace is the same for all people. When they preached to the Jews, who hated idolatry, they had only to preach the grace of God in Christ; but when they had to do with the Gentiles, they had to address their mistakes in their worship of various gods and modify behaviors. Through Your Holy Spirit, Paul and Barnabas spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. The devil noticed and stirred up trouble to try to disrupt and stop the spreading of the gospel. Even after being stoned and left for dead, Paul returned to the same people to share Your gospel. Paul faced huge difficulties but was filled with joy because his heart was right, and he was making a massive difference to the world. Joy comes from the heart and is not necessarily connected with our outward circumstance. Lord, today people are offended by Your name. Many people are violent to Your message of love and grace and today we are facing difficulties as Your followers. We still need to boldly preach the good news in spite of opposition. You love all people, no matter what their background. As we share our faith with others, we need to consider where they are in their faith. Many never grew up in the church and may need to learn more of the basics. Give us the words to teach them. There are those who hear the message and get angry, offended, and who refuse to believe. The devil not only notices those of faith but is running rampant in our society today. Let me not be discouraged but continue to speak of Your love and mercy for all. Help me to speak so effectively that many will believe. Give me the courage to speak boldly for you. Lord fill me today with the Holy Spirit and with joy. Amen