Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Acts and Mission 52

posted by Scot McKnight

Paul.jpgThe listeners — both Jews and god-fearing Gentiles — wanted more out of Paul after his initial gospeling in Pisidian Antioch. 

13:42 As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people were urging them to speak about these things on the next Sabbath. 13:43 When the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking with them and were persuading them to continue in the grace of God.

13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city assembled together to hear the word of the Lord. 13:45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and they began to contradict what Paul was saying by reviling him. 13:46 Both Paul and Barnabas replied courageously, “It was necessary to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles. 13:47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have appointed you to be a light for the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.‘” 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began to rejoice and praise the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed for eternal life believed. 13:49 So the word of the Lord was spreading through the entire region. 13:50 But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high social standing and the prominent men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and threw them out of their region. 13:51 So after they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them, they went to Iconium. 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Paul begins in the synagogue and branches out because of opposition. There is a theme to be chased down in Acts: persecution prompts the spreading of the gospel.
Opposition includes both Jewish leaders and God-fearing (Gentile) women; they book Paul out of the city and he goes on. Persecution prompts the spreading of the gospel.
Perhaps Paul realized through persecution how God would use him to reach the Gentiles.
The persecution prompts joy in the disciples.
One more point: the Jew first and then Gentile pattern is not about the standing of Jews in God’s eyes. The point in these passages has to do with who responds and who does not respond properly — in faith and commitment to Jesus. The Jews who respond are part of the church; the Jews who don’t aren’t. Jews aren’t rejected; those who oppose God’s work in Jesus are.


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Ann

posted October 30, 2009 at 12:34 am


Scot, you wrote, “The point in these passages has to do with who responds and who does not respond properly — in faith and commitment to Jesus. The Jews who respond are part of the church; the Jews who don’t aren’t. Jews aren’t rejected; those who oppose God’s work in Jesus are.”
What struck me about this passage was the anger and outright rejection of those who brought the message of life and reconciliation. Opposition to Christ shows, frequently and perhaps is primarily noticed today, as opposition to the people God brings into our lives who speak the truth, who challenge our comfortable (usually, unjust and inequitable) status quo with messages of grace, salvation and eternal life, whose lives convict us of our own sin.
“But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and they began to contradict what Paul was saying by reviling him.”
“But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high social standing and the prominent men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and threw them out of their region.”
IMHO, the vindictive and destructive focus on Paul and Barnabas (or on the people loving God and speaking truth with grace in our communities, today) seems to be the clearest indication of a “false gospel.”



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