GOSPEL MEDITATION # 41
Paul & Barnabas in Antioch of Pisidia part 2
- Find a quiet place without distractions.
- Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
- Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
- Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
- Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
- Now the second phase of the Paul’s first missionary journal: the apostles are in a synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia (modern day Turkey), Paul is invited to speak. After recounting a brief history of God’s dealings with Israel Paul moves to the work of Jesus.
- Paul’s focus is on the crucifixion and resurrection. For Jew and Gentile alike, how could it be that the Messiah would die the death of a criminal and this on a Roman cross. But this death, Paul points out, was prophesied.
- Now the resurrection, and Paul quotes passages from Psalm 16 and Isaiah 55 that point to resurrection.
- This established Paul goes to the heart of the matter: forgiveness of sin. Jews knew well that God is holy and no sin may be in His presence. Thus sin must be atoned for and this Jesus did once for all on the cross. That which is horrible beyond imagination becomes the very instrument of God for the forgiveness of sin. This incredible event and truth is the point of Habakkuk 1:5.
- The synagogue congregation is so struck by the message they “begged” the missionaries to return next Sabbath day.
- After the service many Jews and devout Gentiles were “following” Paul and Barnabas, wanting to hear more.
- Luke does not tell us whether any of these who wanted more from the apostles were born again or not. But when they urged these to “continue in the grace of God” may well indicate that true conversion was in place.
- That one sermon in the synagogue was just the beginning.