Acts 14 continues to describe the ministry of Paul and Barnabas. They were at Iconium now and “spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed”. Good things were happening on the mission field. But of course, the unbelieving Jews “stirred up…..and poisoned their minds”. They weren’t about to let the ministry proceed without some resistance. But the disciples stayed anyway and were “speaking boldly….bore witness….granting signs and wonders”. They just kept on in spite of those who were out to get them. The resistance wanted them dead and made an attempt to “mistreat them and stone them”. But as has been their style all along, “they continued to preach” and healed those in need like the man sitting in Lystra that couldn’t use his feet. Is that what you do when you face some pushback from people in your patch? Or do you just give in before you even start because it may happen. We are called to be bold – to share the name of Jesus with everyone in our patch. We need to help people find the Savior! The healing caused a real uproar and the people began worshipping Paul and Barnabas and caused Paul to respond with these words to deflect the praise: “We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them”. He tells them that they are just men like all the rest and they should not be worshiping them.
This has really got the locals in an uproar so they “stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing he was dead”. They are moving from resistance to an attempt to silence him forever. Check out what happens: “when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up”. Now that would get your blood moving wouldn’t it. The power of God is alive and well there with them. And we have the same God and Holy Spirit with us today as well. We just need to learn how to walk with the power of the Spirit as Paul did. Of course this strengthened “the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith” and to stay firm in their walk with God. Have you seen God move? Are you watching and expecting? He is alive – right here with us – and active and alive and well and doing His thing among us. We just need to pay attention and tune in to what He is up to. They just kept on preaching and moving from town to town and sharing Christ crucified. As they went they “declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith”. The testimony of what God had done was powerful and grabbed the attention of all they shared it with. That is the power of our life – as we share what God has done in us and through us – it draws people to Him. Scripture also tells us that “they remained no little time with the disciples” – they poured their lives into them. They were committed to training and leading and helping the disciples learn all they could. That is what Jesus had tasked them with – to go and make disciples. Are you answering that call and commission on your life? Jesus told us to do that very same thing. It wasn’t just spoken to the people there that day. He intended it for you and me. Are you following Him? Jesus wants us to tell the story of His power in our life and the good news of the Cross!