Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God. Acts 13:43
One Sabbath day, Paul and Barnabas went to the synagogue for a regular service in Antioch of Pisidia. While in attendance, they received the following invitation.
After the usual readings from the books of Moses and the prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, come and give it.” Acts 13:15
God opened the door for those two men to share the good news of the gospel. After Paul quieted the crowd, he got their attention by talking about their ancestry.
The God of this nation of Israel chose our ancestors and made them multiply and grow strong during their stay in Egypt. Then with a powerful arm he led them out of their slavery. He put up with them through forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Acts 13:17-18
He told them how the Lord provided the land He promised to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Then he destroyed seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to Israel as an inheritance. All this took about 450 years. Acts 13:19-20
The apostle reminded them that God gave judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then, after they demanded a king, the Lord appointed one named Saul, son of Kish.
But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:21
The Transition in Paul’s Message
Paul finished this historical account of the nation of Israel by talking about King David, an Israeli hero. In other words, he had everyone’s attention. He then brought Jesus into the conversation.
And it is one of King David’s descendants, Jesus, who is God’s promised Savior of Israel! Acts 13:22
Up until this point, the Jews practiced the offering of sacrifices according to the law of Moses. Sacrificing animals was their way of life. They knew nothing about the grace of God.
Many in the synagogue that day may have heard of John the Baptist or had even seen him. So Paul referred to this forerunner of Jesus and the message he preached.
Before he came, John the Baptist preached that all the people of Israel needed to repent of their sins and turn to God and be baptized. Acts 13:24
When the crowds asked John if he was the Messiah, Paul said he denied it. He said, however, that the Messiah was coming soon. Then, Paul transitioned by speaking directly to his audience.
Brothers—you sons of Abraham, and also you God-fearing Gentiles—this message of salvation has been sent to us! Acts 13:26
From the Law to the Grace of God
The apostle brought them from following the law to relying on the grace of God. He also pointed to the fulfillment of scripture because not everyone recognized Jesus as the Messiah.
The people in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, and in doing this they fulfilled the prophets’ words that are read every Sabbath. Acts 13:27
They fulfilled all the prophecies about him when they moved him from the cross to the tomb. But that’s not the end of the story. God raised him from the dead! And many saw Him alive.
So that day, Paul and Barnabas took an opportunity to share a word of encouragement. They offered life to their listeners by bringing relevancy to their heritage.
And now we are here to bring you this Good News. The promise was made to our ancestors, and God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. Acts 13:32-33
Paul shared that God made a new covenant when Jesus died on the cross. One that He made available to everyone.
Everyone who believes in him is made right in God’s sight—something the law of Moses could never do. Acts 13:39
How was the Message Received?
The people asked these two men to give a word of encouragement to those in the synagogue that day. In fact, the people probably encouraged them beyond measure. Look at the people’s response.
As Paul and Barnabas left the synagogue that day, the people begged them to speak about these things again the next week. Acts 13:42
So, the missionaries gave them one more word of encouragement before they left. The two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God.
They did return the following week. This time, however, some jealous Jews confronted them. They slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said.
Even at that, they preached effectively. But not to the Jews who rejected their message. They preached to the Gentiles, who welcomed the grace of God.
But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; Acts 13:46,48
God has instructed us to share His message of grace and mercy. The message of Jesus, crucified on the cross, died and rose again, making salvation available to all.
Will everyone listen? Probably not. Will some respond? Possibly. We often decide that someone will reject the message instead of letting them decide.
So, let’s depend on the grace of God and share the message like Paul did. Give the person you’re talking to the opportunity to accept or reject the message for themselves.
Lord, give us the boldness that Paul had when sharing the message of salvation. Oh God, help us to rely on your grace every day.
Check out these related posts on God and His Grace
- How To Continually Rely On The Grace Of God
- The Grace Of God, The Most Amazing Gift Ever
- God Gives Grace To The Humble
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