Day 17 - Acts 13:29-52 - 40 Days in the book of Acts

Acts 13:29-52

29 And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ 34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ 35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ 36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:
41  “‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”

We pick up where we left off yesterday.  Paul is preaching in a synagogue.  There are Jews and Gentiles (those interested in Judaism) together.  Paul has reviewed Israel's history and is currently addressing the death and resurrection of Jesus.  

Now Paul moves to the "good news".  What would be the point of telling someone about Jesus if you didn't tell them what Jesus can do right now?  Paul tells his listeners that their forefathers promised it and that Jesus is the fulfillment of it.  

The quote from Psalms 2 emphasizes Paul's point.  Most people think of this passage like a King declaring to His Kingdom that He is raising up a son to rule someday.  But that this day, he and the son would share the throne of the Kingdom together.  The fact that God raises Jesus from the dead is is evidence to this fact.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise made to King David that from his lineage a Savior would come.  Paul explains this more fully in Romans 1: 3 - 4 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Next Paul quotes Isa 53:3 “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’  This blessing could not be fulfilled without the resurrection of Jesus. 

He quotes Psalms 16:10 “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ David was dead, his body has been corrupted.  Jesus isn't dead, His body is not corrupted.  

Paul finishes by stating that through Jesus, one could be forgiven of their sins.  That one could even be free from the guilt of those things which the Law of Moses could not address.  

Paul concludes by quoting Habakkuk 1:5 “‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”  It's a warning from Paul that they should watch out for a greater judgement if they don't listen to him.  

Ministering to the religious lot is difficult at best.  Paul was a master at it, simply because he use to be one.  It is always easier to help someone discover their faith than to change their faith.  But what you and I face today is even harder.  People place their faith in things, education, their careers and so much more.  Getting them to change their faith to Jesus requires the skill of a Paul.  But that is what the Holy Spirit is for.  To help us do what we cannot do for ourselves.  Trust in Him and let Him change your life.  

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God  44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,  “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

Things went so well that they were asked to come back next week.  Many who were there followed Paul and Barnabas during that time.  Most likely because they wanted to learn more.  The fact that the encourage them to continue in the grace of God was significant inasmuch as they believed the God would bring them salvation. 

Work apparently got out about the previous meeting and the whole city showed up to go to church.  What an awesome thought huh?  But remember, it wasn't Pauls great preaching or Barnabas' great teaching that filled the place.  It was the message that they were sharing.  Jesus Saves! 

Well no good deed goes unpunished.  The Jewish leaders were jealous that Paul and Barnabas received such attention.  So they began to discredit and defame Paul.  The idea here is that they were very abusive.  

And here's their answer.  It was their calling to go to the Jews first.  But since they have rejected and decided that they don't want to spend eternity in heaven.  Then they will turn to the Gentiles and give them the same message and opportunity.  This would have caught the Jews flatfooted and flabbergasted.  Or WHAT?  

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

The Gentiles jumped at the chance!  They were so spiritually hungry but Judaism neither accepted them nor would they ever do so.  To be a part of their own spiritual community was a breath of fresh air to them.  They rejoiced and believed!  

The Jewish leaders were not done.  They simply rounded up all their high profile and political connections and had them run out of town.  Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off of their feet when they left town.  Ouch!  It was something that Christ had encouraged his disciples to do when they were not welcomed (or thrown out of town).  It's another way of saying or singing, "Let it go!" 

FYI - From what we know of church history, these persecutors did not destroy the church in Pisidian Antioch.  Praise God!  
 
There is something to be said for unity vs uniformity.  The Judaism of that day was all about uniformity.  Everyone had to be the same.  The same race, the same faith, the same laws - etc.  Anyone who didn't fit that "sameness" was doomed.  The Gentiles.  Even if they became a proselyte Jew - they were never really accepted as one who was a true decedent of Abraham.  

Unity of the faith though is something different.  Jesus doesn't care about our heritage.  He cares about the condition of our heart.  While we may be different people coming from different places in life.  We can agree on one thing.  Jesus is the Savior of our sins and the Authority of our everyday life.  

English Standard Version (ESV)


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