Chaos & Control
Thank God for the way the Good News of Jesus first came to you and for those who brought it.
Read ACTS 13:46-14:7
 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.  For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”  When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.  The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.  But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.  So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.  And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.  At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.  But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.  So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.  The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles.  There was a plot afoot among the Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them.  But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country,  where they continued to preach the good news. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat two responses did preaching elicit in these towns?
Astonishingly, the good news of Jesus first reached me when I was a young boy living in Cromer, Norfolk, in England. The kids next door simply invited me to Sunday school, but this small event had life-changing significance for me.
Through Abram, God promised to bless all nations. This blessing would extend far beyond his own people, the Jews, and include the rest of the world. To God’s grace there would be no boundaries (Isa. 49:6). Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar were Gentiles, not Jews. So were many in Pisidian Antioch and Iconium—Greeks, Romans and native Phrygians—where Paul and Barnabas shared the good news of Jesus (13:48). The Jews didn’t want the Gentiles to share the special privileges they had received from God, so they stirred up trouble (13:45,50; 14:2). Soon, both Jews and Gentiles were plotting to get rid of Paul and Barnabas (14:5). Fortunately, nothing could stop the pair from pushing on to more remote and dangerous areas with the Good News.
I, too, long for a zeal that compels me to take the Good News far beyond the boundaries of where I live, don’t you?
To whom could you help take the Good News in the next week? How could you begin that process?
Lord, refresh me again with the light of your salvation, and fill me with boundless energy for spreading the Good News.
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