Are You A Co-Worker Of God?
The team, now minus John Mark, moves on to Pisidian Antioch and visits the synagogue there.
Paul is now clearly the spokesman (v. 16) and his name precedes Barnabas’s in verses 46 and 50. There is no evidence of competition. The order simply reflects the reality of giftedness and leadership. This reminds us of the old saying, “It takes more grace than I can tell, to play the second fiddle well.”.
Paul now speaks like Stephen as he reviews the history of God’s people, Israel. Here, he makes the only reference to his namesake, King Saul, in the New Testament (vv. 21–22). Saul’s reign is remembered for its lack of regard for God’s Word.
Paul says that God has sent the Son of David, the Saviour Jesus, and that through Jesus salvation is now available for Jews and God-fearing Gentiles (vv. 16–26).
This Jesus was rejected by His own people, killed, raised from the dead by God, and seen by many witnesses (vv. 27–31).
Stephen did not get this far in his own sermon, being interrupted by the Sanhedrin. Paul, facing a different audience, makes the most of this opportunity to emphasise the resurrection of Jesus as the fulfilment of Psalm 2 (vv. 32 –37).
What Paul says in verses 38 and 39 also appears in his letters to the Roman and Galatian believers. The law cannot save (v. 39). It is by faith in this man Jesus, rather than observance of the law, that salvation (vv. 23, 26), good news (v. 32), and forgiveness of sin (vv. 38–39) have come.
There is a strong note of warning (v. 41), but some did find salvation as they heard God’s Word preached by Paul that day (vv. 42–43).
The next week, there is a massive turnout to hear the Word. The Jews, motivated by jealousy, oppose the gospel and so Paul and Barnabas turn their attention to the Gentiles (v. 46).
In a typical summary statement, Luke reports in verses 48–52:
- The wider spread of the gospel to the Gentiles.
- Opposition from the Jews.
- Rejection of the unbelieving Jews by shaking dust off the feet.
- The fullness of joy and the Holy Spirit in the believers.
Note how Luke emphasises that the advancement of the gospel is God’s work (v. 48). How are you encouraged as you see God fulfilling His work?
Do you see yourself as God’s co-worker, bearing a message that is unstoppable?
Taken from Journey Through Acts: 50 Daily Insights from God’s Word by David Cook.