GOSPEL MEDITATION # 43
Paul and Barnabas at Iconium
- 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.
- Rather than retreat after their experience at Antioch of Pisidia, Paul and Barnabas head 90 miles east to Iconium.
- Again they visit a synagogue and proclaim Jesus; many Jews and Greeks believe.
- As usual there is opposition, underscoring the reality that what one believes and identifies with will not go unchallenged.
- Luke does not detail what the persecutors did exactly, but he does report that the “minds” of the Gentiles were “poisoned.” Luke, the physician, uses a word that describes a very potent, even dangerous influence.
- Then Luke says, “So they remained for a long time” when it would be expected Paul and Barnabas might go elsewhere.
- “Speaking boldly”—courageous at minimum and driven by love for those lost without a Savior. Their main theme was the “word of his grace.”
- The “granting” of “signs and wonders”—“by their hands”— we wish we had more information. Were these healings? Were hands laid on? Luke assumes the reader understands.
- Division was developing, some sided with the apostles while others were against them. Things have not changed from that day to this, which creates a tension, at minimum, for those who preach the Gospel message.
- Once the political rulers become involved, the way is clear for the mistreatment of the apostles. Indeed it is now possible to stone them to death.
- Paul and Barnabas hear of the plot against them and escape.
- They travel south to Lystra, then east to Derbe. As they go they continue to preach the Gospel throughout the region.