“And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”Acts 13:52
Let the traveling begin. Paul & Barnabas were being sent now by the Holy Spirit to begin traveling to different cities to teach the Gospel of Jesus to the people in each city. Their fellow believers prayed over Paul & Barnabas and then sent them out on their trip.
This trip is known as Paul’s 1st Missionary Trip. He would eventually take 3 different trips over the course of his ministry. With Barnabas they travelled far staying in the cities and sharing the good news of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
Some people responded in believing what they were preaching. Others rebelled against them trying to stop their preaching. There were some Jewish leaders that did not like what Paul & Barnabas had to say. The leaders rallied others to drive Paul & Barnabas out of town.
This opposition did not stop them or slow them down. The duo continued on their journey all over the region seeing many come to know Jesus personally for themselves. There was much rejoicing celebrating these changed lives.
A key learning from this week’s chapter for us today is the importance to persevere in the face of opposition. I grew up in a church tradition where change was hard. In fact there was a joke saying “How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb?” Punchline: “What’s change?”
Yeah true story.
Paul & Barnabas were changing how people were worshipping God. They were teaching everyone how Jesus is the Messiah, the Promised One. From the Scriptures (our modern day Old Testament) they showed how Jesus fulfilled all of God’s promises and how by His life, death & resurrection we are saved from sins.
This Good News is life changing! It disrupts the status quo.
Some people are not ready or willing to hear this change. They will be opposed to anyone who is changed by the Gospel.
As you continue to follow Jesus with your life be encouraged to keep growing and sharing. Yes, you will face opposition. You might be facing opposition right now from family &/or friends. Stand firm in your faith.
Look to Paul & Barnabas as they went on their first missionary journey. They preached the Gospel in the town to all who would listen. When it was time to leave they rejoiced for what the Holy Spirit did. For those cities that rejected them they shook the dust off their sandals and went to the next city.
This week hold tight to Jesus’ hand as you go about your life. Listen to God’s Word when you pray, read the Bible, converse with fellow believers. Ignore the opposition. Shake the dust off your feet and move on to the next place where God has you to serve.
Be filled with joy as you mute the naysayers and sing the praises of God.
This Week’s Challenge
Memorize 2 Bible verses to say to yourself when you face opposition for the faith.