An Incredible Adventure

Acts 14

And so Paul and Barnabas moved on to Iconium, where a great number of both Jews and Gentiles received their message; they performed signs and miracles to confirm the Word of Truth as they went along through the town, and they ministered boldly for quite some time. Of course not everyone accepted the Truth, and opposition rose up to the message culminating in plot by leading Jews, together with leading Gentiles to cause bodily harm to the two men, and they were forced to move on to Lystra.

In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. (14:8-10)

That had quite an impact on the crowd, but not quite the kind of impact Paul had expected, for the Gentiles took this as a sign that they were embodiments of pagan gods. When Paul and Barnabas realized this, they reacted:

“Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them. (14:15-18)

Some Jews arrived in town from Antioch and Iconium who turned the people against them, and Paul was stoned in the streets, his body dragged out of town and left for dead, but he was not dead; they moved on to Derbe.

They were well-received in Derbe, where a large number were moved to follow The Way, after which Paul and Barnabas retraced their steps, strengthening and encouraging the fledgling churches there, appointing elders and telling them that, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (14:22). Finally, they arrived back in Antioch, where they told the church everything that they had encountered on their incredible adventure.

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