Friday, May 4, 2012

Acts 14:19-23

Summary retelling of Acts 14:19-23

Jews come from the places where Paul and Barnabas had just preached and they now make trouble for Paul and Barnabas in Lystra.  The look to kill Paul, and after stoning him they assume that he is dead.  The drag him out of the city and leave him – not even giving a decent burial.  The followers of Jesus Christ find him and gather around him and discover that he isn’t dead after all.  Paul gets up, goes back into the city, and the next day he and Barnabas head out for Derbe.  When they had made many disciples in Derbe, they revisit the towns that they had already preached in to encourage the followers of Jesus Christ that they had helped shape.  They appointed elders and committed them to the Lord.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Some people just can’t let bygones be bygones.  The people who drove Paul and Barnabas out of Psidian Antioch and Iconium hear about the ministry in Lystra and they need to disrupt it.  There are people in the world who feel the need to do more than just personally reject God.  There are people who feel the need to reject God and persecute those who do wherever they can find them.  It is a fact.  These people were around to crucify Christ, others were around to stone Stephen, and now even more are pursuing Paul and Barnabas to make their life rough.  All throughout history we’ve seen people who persecute the work of the followers of Jesus Christ.

How good are you at being able to identify the people who are going to persecute you?  Are you ever surprised?  What makes it easy to identify potential persecutors?  What makes it hard?

Second Thought:
Paul gets up and goes back into Lystra after having been stoned.  Think about this for a second.  If a group of people just attempted to kill you, would you go back into that town or would you just move on?  I’ve got to give Paul a bunch of credit.  He goes back into danger for the sake of the disciples that still needed to be taught and given last minute instructions.  He needed to go back into Lystra to teach the disciples how to handle the fact that if they continue to follow Jesus Christ that they might find themselves persecuted, too.

How do you think you would have felt about being associated with Paul after seeing people try to kill him?  Would there be more fear or excitement?  Does this question remind you of any other story in the Bible of people having to react to the death of their leader? 

Third Thought:
When the time comes for Paul and Barnabas to head back home, they make sure to go back and revisit the disciples that they’ve made.  Paul and Barnabas know that the life of a true disciple is hard and backsliding is easy.  They want to revisit the disciples not to correct them, but to encourage them and inspire them into greater faith.

Why do people need encouragement?  Why is it so easy to slip in our faith life?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 14:24-28
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