Day 5 Read: Acts 13:44-52
On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.
46 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. 47 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.’”
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jewish leaders 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. 51 So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Reflect: what feelings and emotions are created by this sermon in the various groups of people mentioned in these verses? Which response surprises you the most?
Consider: To combat this Jewish opposition Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly, We had to speak the Word of God to you first. Apostolic preaching was noted for its boldness (cf. comments on 4:13).
It was necessary that the apostles go to the Jews first for a number of reasons. First, the coming of the earthly kingdom depended on Israel’s response to the coming of Christ (cf. Matt. 23:39; Rom. 11:26). Second, only after Israel rejected the gospel could Paul devote himself to the Gentiles. Third, the message of Jesus is fundamentally Jewish in that the Old Testament, the Messiah, and the promises are all Jewish. (On “the Jew first,” cf. Acts 3:26; Rom. 1:16.)5
Respond: If you were to emphasize one central truth about the gospel in your evangelism efforts, what would it be? Paul knew at the end of his life he would stand before God and give an account of his days. Read Psalm 90:12. How does the truth in this psalm and Paul’s example impact how you see your personal responsibility to take the gospel to the world?
5 Stanley D. Toussaint, “Acts,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 390.