14 At Iconium, Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue as usual. They spoke there with great power. Large numbers of Jews and non-Jews became believers. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up those who weren’t Jews. They poisoned their minds against the two men and the new believers. 3 So Paul and Barnabas spent a lot of time there. They spoke boldly for the Lord. He gave them the ability to do miraculous signs and wonders. In this way the Lord showed that they were telling the truth about his grace. 4 The people of the city did not agree with each other. Some were on the side of the Jews. Others were on the side of the apostles. 5 Jews and non-Jews alike planned to treat Paul and Barnabas badly. Their leaders agreed. They planned to kill them by throwing stones at them. 6 But Paul and Barnabas found out about the plan. They escaped to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding area. 7 There they continued to preach the good news.
Paul and Barnabas were on a mission from God to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. There are some things I can observe and take note of as I share the gospel with others. Paul and Barnabas experience a combination of success and opposition as they
preach the gospel, and
if we look at their response, they refuse to let the opposition hinder them from fulfilling their mission. The message they preach is offensive to half of the town; however, the pair do not back down, instead, they boldly speak about God and perform signs and wonders. I am challenged by that, when people are offended by the good news, or even before I speak, if I think they are going to be offended, it is so easy to sit back and say nothing. I’d rather avoid the conflict, but Paul and Barnabas didn’t. They were not afraid of having people against them, or against the message they were preaching. They had faith that God would use them to bring at least some of the town to saving faith. Paul and Barnabas did not go out looking for a fight, but when it came it did not deter them.
Lord, please help me to share the good news with boldness; please help me to face the fact that I will offend some people as I share the gospel. Lord, help me to focus on the lives that will be transformed by your forgiveness and grace, and not on the opposition of those who want nothing to do with you. Amen.
Written by Beth Waugh