Some will believe!

Acts 13:44-52

44 The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. 45 But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said.

46 Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. 47 For the Lord gave us this command when he said,
‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’”

48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. 49 So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region.

50 Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. 51 So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium. 52 And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

In the verses just before this passage, Paul has explained, from the prophets, that Jesus is the expected saviour and that he has brought amazing blessing by offering complete forgiveness of sins, with no need for ongoing sacrifices. The people were intrigued and eager to hear more so they invited Paul and Barnabas to speak about this again. The next week, almost the whole city came to hear Paul preach and find out more about Jesus. These are the Jewish people, to whom God had given prophecies so that they would recognise the Saviour when he came. But how sad! Human jealousy undermined them receiving this word. Paul’s words make me wince: “You have rejected God’s word and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life.”

I’m sure that when people reject Jesus today, they don’t think that they are considering themselves unworthy of salvation. Because of Satan’s subterfuge, they think they are rejecting, at best, ‘fairy tales’ or, at worst, ideas that are destructive to the world. I have reflected on whether this amounts to “human jealousy”. I think a more apt description of the stumbling block today is human pride. (So, what else is new??) Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we want to do things our own way, rejecting God’s way. The sad result is that many people are not humble enough to believe and accept eternal life.

Yet God’s purposes are never thwarted. Paul and the apostles turned away from the unbelieving Jews and brought God’s word to the Gentiles, as was written in Isaiah hundreds of years earlier. And many of the Gentiles received the word gladly!

What does that say to me? I should present God’s salvation to everyone. Some will reject it, but I shouldn’t give up. Rather, I should look for other audiences (while continuing to pray for the first) because some will go on to humble themselves and joyfully believe.

Father, thank you for salvation! I accept it with all my heart. Please help me to hear what you want me to hear, and to tell others about you, despite human pride. Amen

Written by Megan Cornell

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