Welcome to Episode #86 of the Sunday Scripture Podcast! We’re in a series for the summer that will walk through the book of Acts. We have a large text today with several important notes, so we will break it up and discuss interesting points...
Acts 14: 1-18 New International Version (NIV)
At Iconium, Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. 4 The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. 5 There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews,together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. 6 But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, 7 where they continued to preach the gospel.
8 In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “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. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 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.” 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
Quote #1 by N.T. Wright
“...part of the message was precisely that the fulfilment was a complete fulfilment in the sense that the underlying purpose of the promises, that through Israel God would bless the whole world, was now being accomplished. The synagogue communities were being invited to embrace a fulfilment of their own long-cherished hopes, which necessarily meant a relativization of their own ‘special’ sense.”
Quote #2 by N.T. Wright
“So Paul and Barnabas –who if they are anything in the pagan world are missionaries on behalf of the One True God, the God of Abraham, the God of Jewish monotheism who stands over against all pagan idols and declares that they are a load of empty nonsense –this Paul and Barnabas are not only faced with the full show of pagan worship, but they are themselves identified with the very gods they have come to debunk! It is remarkable what can happen to a message when the hearers insist on inserting it firmly into their own worldview.”
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