As Paul & Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the Jewish people of Turkish Antioch invited them to come back the next Sabbath & tell them more about Jesus (265).
Many Jews, & many Gentiles who had been converted to Judaism, followed Paul & Barnabas all the next week. The two witnesses encouraged the people to keep on living in the grace of God. The next Sabbath nearly everyone in town came to the synagogue to hear the word of God.
But some Jews would not accept Jesus as the Messiah sent from God. When they saw the crowds, they were jealous; they disputed what Paul was saying & insulted him.
Yet Paul & Barnabas stood strong: “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to the Jews. But since you reject it & do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we will leave you & minister to the Gentiles. God has commanded us to do this, saying: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, so that the entire world may be saved.’”
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad & praised God for this message. Those who had been chosen for eternal life became believers, and the word of God spread from Turkish Antioch throughout the Pisidian region.
However, the unbelieving Jews stirred up the leading men of the city, along with the Gentile women of high social standing who had converted to become Jews.
These people started a campaign of persecution against Paul & Barnabas. Eventually, they had the local government expel them from that region.
So the two witnesses shook the dust off their feet in protest against the unbelievers, and traveled southeast to the city of Iconium. But despite this persecution of Paul & Barnabas, the believers in Turkish Antioch remained filled with joy from God’s Holy Spirit.
God, please help me to love all different kinds of people, as You do.
(265) Acts 13:42-52