Acts 13:42–52 (ESV)
42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. 44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “ ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Big Picture Context: The book of Acts is showing us how the new creation in us was initiated… “After Jesus had ascended, his disciples waited in Jerusalem. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began the task of proclaiming Jesus. As the missionary implications of the gospel became clearer to the first Christians, the local proclamation was extended to world evangelization. The apostle Paul took the gospel to Asia Minor and Greece, establishing many churches as he went. Eventually a church flourished at the heart of the empire of Rome.” G Goldsworthy
What is this passage showing us? Living out a life absorbed into God through the person and work of Christ is a life of mission.
1. A mission that will anger some because of jealousy… they basically don’t want to know or hear the message. (Verses 44-47)
Note: The Jewish people during the time of Christ believed in “A present age” and “an age to come.” The phrase “Eternal life” literally means “life of the age” so the New Testament writers where not speaking of an eternal life of timeless, spaceless and matterless existence but a time of a great restoration of all things. They felt they had a right and were predestined to this age to come based on the fact that they were descendants of Abraham and God’s chosen people. So when Paul and Barnabas proclaimed (in Acts 13:47) that the verses from Isaiah 49:3-7 as being fulfilled in the faithful servant Jesus the Christ and not Israel (Isaiah 52:13-53:12) the Jews got mad! The way the Jews responded to the message that God is saving and loving the gentiles shows that they are no longer servants of God’s message but pride filled enemies the great restoration of all things.
2. A mission that will create Joy and belief through the power of the message and work of the Holy Spirit. (Verses 48-49, 52)
3. A mission that endures opposition and persecution through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Verses 50-52)