Paul and Barnabas in Antioch of Pisidia
Then Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. John, however, left them and returned to Jerusalem; but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. After the reading of the law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message, saying, ‘Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, give it.’ So Paul stood up and with a gesture began to speak:
‘You Israelites, and others who fear God, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. For about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. After he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance for about four hundred and fifty years. After that he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. When he had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, “I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.” Of this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel a Saviour, Jesus, as he promised; before his coming John had already proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John was finishing his work, he said, “What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but one is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of the sandals on his feet.”
‘My brothers, you descendants of Abraham’s family, and others who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. Because the residents of Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize him or understand the words of the prophets that are read every sabbath, they fulfilled those words by condemning him. Even though they found no cause for a sentence of death, they asked Pilate to have him killed. When they had carried out everything that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead; and for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, and they are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm,
“You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.”
As to his raising him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,
“I will give you the holy promises made to David.”
Therefore he has also said in another psalm,
“You will not let your Holy One experience corruption.”
For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died, was laid beside his ancestors, and experienced corruption; but he whom God raised up experienced no corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, my brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you; by this Jesus everyone who believes is set free from all those sins from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. Beware, therefore, that what the prophets said does not happen to you:
“Look, you scoffers!
Be amazed and perish,
for in your days I am doing a work,
a work that you will never believe, even if someone tells you.” ’
Acts 13 focuses on the beginning of Paul’s ministry, his transformation from Saul to Paul, his response to the call of the Holy Spirit and his evangelistic response to this. Paul takes on a leadership role on his first ministry journey modelling gospel characteristics in this mission and ministry. This must have felt huge and scary, new in leadership and travelling huge distances to share the gospel and to challenge strangers from different backgrounds and cultures to believe and change how they live in response to this. The Holy Spirit was visible, physical and active during this journey and Paul and the others were alive with it and open to acknowledging and seeing it at work in the transformation of those they preached to. This really speaks to me in my faith and discipleship – to be alive to the presence of God, to notice and to listen and to be aware of more than me in the everyday.
The evangelistic methods expressed in this chapter challenge an immersing in gospel living, sharing and transforming lives through being inclusive communities; learning, dialogue, physical action, modelling and response in equal measure.
Paul was determined and driven he modelled inclusion in his ministry. He used Old Testament prophecy alongside the new gospel story to make sense of this new word from God. He summarized the ministry of John the Baptist and then introduced Jesus and the gospel. He was consistent in his message and preached about transformation through belief. He was relational and passionate and lived out his calling in the way he behaved and talked.
Blessings as we pray that we too might witness to others the risen Jesus Christ by our words and especially by our actions. Be safe! Be well! He is Risen Indeed!
- What was your first leadership experience ? Why and how did you respond to it ?
- What do you consider to be the evangelistic characteristics that Paul expresses ?
- What does Paul’s model of evangelism say to you ?
- Where do you see models of this early model of ministry and mission occurring in our Church today ?