Paul’s First Missionary Journey: Lesson 2: Acts 13:13-43

February 19, 2018 0 Comments

The last stop on their journey hadn’t been uneventful. Paul and Barnabas had encountered Elymas the Jewish sorcerer. They had also met proconsul Sergius Paulus and shared the gospel message with him. A strong possibility exists that upon his request, Paul, along with Barnabas, undertook the journey to Pisidian Antioch in order to share the gospel with the family members of Sergius Paulus in that region. Sergius Paulus would have supplied them with letters of recommendation from him to his family in Pisidian Antioch to ensure that Paul and Barnabas were treated hospitably. Paul and his companions leave Paphos on the island of Cyprus and sail to Perga in Pamphylia where they travel inland to Pisidian Antioch. Prior to their departure for Pisidian Antioch, John Mark leaves the company and heads home to Jerusalem.

“On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.” Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “ Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!”” Acts 13:13-16

As travelers and guests, Paul and Barnabas are offered the opportunity to speak while attending the synagogue. Paul, relying on his vast knowledge of the scrolls and his rhetorical skills, begins with the deliverance and salvation history of Israel. He, then, segues into the story of Jesus and concludes with Jesus’ resurrection. Paul makes his appeal to his audience on the basis of their shared ancestry.

“The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country,… “After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. After removing Saul, he made David their king.… “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised…. “Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath…. When they had carried out all 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 was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. “ We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus…”” Acts 13:17, 20-22a, 23,26,27, 29-33

Paul ends his teaching by stating that through Jesus justification from all sin is possible. The Law only allowed for justification of sins committed inadvertently not those sins committed deliberately or with premeditation. Paul explains that Jesus provides justification for all sin.

“”Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”” Acts 13:38,39

Intrigued by his message, the people invite Paul and Barnabas to return and speak further on these matters on the following Sabbath. Those open to the message of Jesus heard it and the words began to take root. Their hearts pricked by God. Paul and Barnabas continued onward buoyed by the grace of God at work in the people of Pisidian Antioch.



Reference: The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Ben Witherington III pg. 403-407


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