Summary of Acts 13:42-52:
Paul and Barnabas were invited to speak the next Sunday at the synagogue. The people followed them and talked to them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. The next Sabbath almost the entire city showed up to hear the word of the Lord. The Jews were jealous that so many showed up to hear Paul speak and spoke against them. Paul and Barnabas answered them, saying that they spoke the word of God to you (the Jews) first, but since you rejected it, they turned to the Gentiles as commanded by God.
Many believed, and the word of the Lord spread throughout the region. But the Jews continued to come against them, persecuting them and expelling them from their region. So, Paul and Barnabas went to Iconium filled with the Holy Spirit.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 11, Day 4: Acts 13:42-52
8 ) Sadly, other Jews who were jealous of them. They continued on with their mission of bringing God’s word to all who would listen.
9) Personal Question. My answer: That there is highs and lows when serving God.
10) Personal Question. My answer: Constant fight against not enough time to do all He has for me.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 11, Day 4: Acts 13:42-52
Love the fact that Paul stays above the fracas of the Jews and moves on to the Gentiles, who respond enthusiastically. We should also not be so sensitive to rejection, knowing God has got it and is doing it, not us.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 11, Day 4: Acts 13:42-52
Both Jews and Gentiles at the synagogue responded positively, yet Luke noted an even greater response from the Gentiles present.
Many believed for two reasons:
- Many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas. There was a continuing interest in their message.
- Paul and Barnabas persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. This means they had already started to trust in the grace of God.
Continuing in grace is as important as beginning in grace; we must never leave it as the basic principle of our relationship with God. Far too many only think of grace as the introduction to the Christian life, but God wants grace to remain as the foundation for our life with Him.
Everyone Shows Up
“In our day, people are overwhelmed with information. We have radio, television, newspapers, magazines. People did not have any of this in that day. So when somebody came through from another city, the person was a source of precious information and people naturally thronged about him. The missionaries were proclaiming something new.” (Boice)
The power of the word of God was the primary power that attracted people, and Luke emphasized it in his account.
- The whole city came together to hear the word of God (Acts 13:44).
- Paul and Barnabas spoke the word of God to them first (Acts 13:46).
- The Gentiles responded to the word of the Lord (Acts 13:48).
- The word of the Lord spread through the region (Acts 13:49).
The dramatic response made the leaders of the synagogue envious. This is inevitable for those who are more concerned about being popular than serving God. When someone else is more popular, they become filled with envy. We can’t all be popular to the same degree, but we can all serve and please God to the same degree in Jesus Christ.
Suddenly, Paul’s preaching was opposed as if he were conducting a debate, with his opponents contradicting him and blaspheming God.
It seems strange that these religious people who waited so long for their Messiah would now reject Him when Jesus was presented to them. They wanted to keep the division between Jew and Gentile, and if Jesus was to be the Messiah of all men, they wanted no part of Him.
Paul rebuked those who rejected Jesus, letting the Jews know that it was a privilege that this message should come to them first, a privilege they were now rejecting.
- When you want to tell others about Jesus, begin with your own group. But if they don’t receive it, or when they start to reject it, don’t stop telling others about Jesus. Just find others to tell, others who will listen.
The Gentiles Respond
Paul and Barnabas also responded with more evangelism to open hearts, now directing their efforts to the Gentiles, in obedience to God’s command (Romans 1:16) and in fulfillment of prophecy (the quotation from Isaiah 49:6).
The Gentiles responded to Paul’s invitation with enthusiastic belief, learning with joy that God does not hate Gentiles, but offered them salvation in Jesus.
Paul showed wisdom in not spending all his time trying to persuade hardened hearts. We know that even after he made Gentiles the focus of his evangelistic efforts, he still prayed earnestly for the salvation of Israel (Romans 10:1), but he spent his missionary time ministering to more open hearts.
The Word was being spread through the efforts of Paul and Barnabas, but especially through the lives of these people being brought to Jesus Christ.
It’s remarkable to think that this church was born in a little more than a week. On one Sabbath Paul and Barnabas preached in the synagogue and there was a wonderful response. The following Sabbath there was a mixed response, some very hostile and some very receptive. They took the receptive ones and started a church that was lasted for hundreds of years and through that church, the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region (Acts 13:49).
The Remarkable Work of God
Sometimes remarkable works of God happen quite quickly. We should be happy for such seasons of rapid progress in God’s work.
If Jewish people had to go in or through a Gentile city, when leaving the city they shook the dust off their feet. In this sense, Paul said “I don’t want to take anything with me from you Jesus-rejecting religionists.”
They carried on the work, going next to Iconium. All too often, rejection and opposition for the sake of the gospel makes us want to give up. But Paul and Barnabas responded with appropriate determination.
Being filled with joy and being filled with the Holy Spirit go together. Paul and Barnabas had joy that contradicted their circumstances.
Paul is a great example of his own command to be constantly being filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
Fun Fact: This is the first time Paul is recorded as turning away from the Jews to the Gentiles in the Bible.