July 7

Acts 14

Acts 14:1-20-When they arrived in Iconium they spoke in the synagogue and many believed.  The Jews who did not believe tried to persuade the Gentiles (probably “God-fearing proselytes”, such as they encountered in Antioch, 13:43) that Paul and Barnabas were incorrect in their teaching.  They spent a long time there (:3).  God was confirming what they said by signs and wonders (:3).  However, the city was divided over them and their message (:4).  Some men were going to harm them so they fled to other cities...Lycaonia, Lystra, Derbe, and the surrounding region.  In Lystra they came upon a man who had been lame from birth (:8).  Paul saw that "he had faith to be made well" (:9) and told him to stand up and walk.  He did so and was instantly healed (:10).  The people began to say that the gods had become like men and had come to them...calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes (:12).  The priest of Zeus wanted to offer sacrifices to them.  When the Apostles heard this they quickly told them that they were mortal men just as they were.  They explained that God had always given them a witness of His existence through nature.  They then told them about Jesus, the true God.  Despite this effort, they still had a difficult time preventing them from offering sacrifices to them.  Jews from Antioch and Iconium then showed up and began to argue against the apostles.  They turned the crowd against them and they stoned Paul…leaving him outside the city for dead.  But as the disciples watched…he stood up, alive.  The next day he and Barnabas went to Derbe.

 

Ryrie Study Bible 14:19  they stoned Paul. After suffering the crushing blows of stones, the victim was dragged outside the city and left to the dogs and beasts. It was a miracle that Paul could get up and leave the next day. Some think the vision mentioned in 2 Cor. 12:1-5 occurred at this time, and it is also possible that he received the marks spoken of in Galatians 6:17 during this stoning.

 

Acts 14:21-28-After preaching and seeing people saved there...they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and to Antioch.  Encouraging them to be faithful despite persecution (:21-22).  They appointed elders in each of these gatherings of believers, these new churches (:23).  They then traveled through Pisidia and Pamphylia to Perga, then to Attalia, and finally back to Antioch.  In Antioch, they gathered the church together and gave a report of how God had “opened to a door of faith to the Gentiles” (:27).  They spent a long time there in the company of the disciples.

Prayer: Lord, I pray for my family and friends who do not know Jesus personally...or, perhaps don't even believe in Your existence, at all.  I pray that they will look around them, at creation itself...and see Your handiwork, and turn to You.  Please open a door of faith to my family and friends.  Help me Lord to have the right words to say when people ask questions.

 

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