Paul and Barnabas arrived at Iconium and spoke of Jesus in the synagogue and many believed, both Jew and Gentile, “but the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds” (Acts 14:2) and the city became divided. Those against threatened to stone Paul and Barnabas, so the disciples fled to Lystra, where they spoke again of Jesus, and did miracles, too. The people began calling Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes and worshiped them rather than the Savior they spoke of and the gospel of Jesus was drowned out by the people’s passion for their own Greek gods. The Iconium Jews, who had chased them out of their own city, caught up with them here and persuaded the crowd to stone Paul and so they did and dragged him out of the city and left him for dead, but he got right back up and went right back into the city. Like the Energizer Bunny, these disciples kept going and going, traveling from Derbe to Pisidia to Pamphylia to Attalia, finally to Antioch, where they ignored what the cities had done to them and “declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).
Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, is the Savior of the world, and the disciples took the message out of Israel to one city and one nation after another. Like David against Goliath, it never dawned on the disciples they were too small to win the world, so they kept going and people kept believing and the good news of Jesus Christ spread “from Jerusalem to all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). If you decide you cannot do something, you will be right every time, so leave those decisions to God and do whatever he says. You will be amazed at what gets done.
My God, may I go as long and as far as You lead, and keep going because You keep leading. Give me the passion and boldness to enter open doors and knock on closed ones. May I burn with the memory of what Your salvation did to my life and fan that flame so Your fire for this world never dies within me.
Keep me encouraged and enthusiastic, faithfully living and speaking grace and truth, and trusting You for changed lives. God, I will stop listening to what I think I cannot do, but listen to what You say I can!