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Greetings everyone, and welcome back to Daily Bread. We're following Paul's
first missionary journey as he brings the Good News of Jesus to the
Gentiles, and we pick up our study today with Paul and Barnabas in Iconium.
The city that was then called Iconium, is now in modern day Turkey. Imagine
all the traveling these guys did ... It must have taken them weeks to get
from one place to another. Many times they traveled by boat but mostly by
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They went together
into the Jewish synagogue there and a great number of both the Jewish and
the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jewish people stirred up the
Gentiles, and made their souls bitter against Barnabas and Paul. So they
remained there a long time, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord, and God
spoke through them, giving testimony to the Word of His Grace, and allowed
them to show signs and miracles with their hands. Most of the city, however
was divided, and part of them listened to the Jewish people, and part
believed the apostles.
Daily Bread Crumb time!
In the Gospels, the term apostle is used to identify one of Jesus' twelve
original disciples. Those twelve were the closest to Jesus of anyone, and
were appointed by Him to be His apostles. The word apostle here, and
elsewhere in the New Testament refers to those sent on a mission to preach
the gospel, so that's why Luke is referring to Barnabas and Paul as
apostles, and in Paul's writings you'll find that Paul refers to himself as
an apostle. An apostle therefore is one assigned the task of preaching the
Word. In short ... A Shepherd.
Gentiles and the Jewish people with their rulers planned to abuse them in
hostility and stone them, but they were aware of it, so they fled to Lystra
and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia and into the region surrounding, and they
preached the Gospel there. (These cities all are in what is now modern day
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In Lystra there
was a man, lame on his feet, being crippled since birth, and had never
walked. He heard Paul speak, and Paul, intently watching him and seeing
that he had faith to be healed, said loudly, Stand up on your feet. And
he leaped and walked. When the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up
their voices, saying in their own language, The gods have come down to us in
the likeness of men.
They called Barnabas,
Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, (Mercury) because he was the chief speaker.
(These people apparently worshiped planets.) Then the priest of Jupiter, who
was outside the city gates, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and
wanted to offer sacrifice with the people. Of course, the apostles didn't
know the language of the people, so they had no idea that they were planning
to offer sacrifice to them instead of God. When Barnabas and Paul learned
about it, they were so upset that they tore their clothes, and ran in among
the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why are you doing these things? We
also are men, just like you, and preach to you that you should turn away
from these worthless things (idol worship) to the living God, which made
heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them: (including
the planets) Who in the past allowed all nations to walk in their own
ways. Nevertheless He made Himself known. In that, He did good, and He gave
us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and
gladness. By saying these things, they barely stopped the people, so they
wouldn't sacrifice to them.
Jewish people from Antioch and Iconium came there and persuaded the people
against them, and these same people that wanted to worship him stoned Paul,
and dragged him out of the city, presuming that he was dead. But, as the
disciples stood around him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next
day he left with Barnabas to Derbe.
When they had
preached the Gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again
to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the new
disciples, and urging them to continue in the faith, and teaching them that
we must endure a lot of tribulation to enter into the kingdom of God. They
appointed elders for them in every church, and prayed and fasted with them,
then they commended them to the Lord, in whom they believed. (They were
setting up Spiritual Churches in different regions).
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After that, they
passed throughout Pisidia, and they came to Pamphylia. And when they had
preached the Word in Perga, they went down into Attalia, and from there they
sailed to Antioch, from where they had been commissioned to the grace of God
for the work that they fulfilled. (Be sure to check out the
C-O-O-L Bible Maps as to
find out where all these cities are!) When they arrived, and had gathered
the church together, they told all about what God had done with and for
them, and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. And they
remained there a long time with the disciples.
That was some
eventful journey, wouldn't you say? You have to give Paul credit, and pray
for the kind of devotion he had. Many people being stoned to the point of
being left for dead would put up their hands, shake their head and say, This
job isn't for me. In fact, many Christians today find peer pressure enough
opposition to let their Faith be less than enthusiastic. We should be more
like Paul and ask ourselves, Do I need to pick myself up, dust myself off,
and charge in once again with even more fervor for the Lord? Then give
yourself an emphatic, YES, and with prayer and newly strengthened faith,
(which we need daily) go do something significant for the Lord.
When we come back,
we'll discover more adventures of the apostles, right here at Daily Bread.
Be sure to join in for more fun and fellowship!