“From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14 From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.” Acts 13.13-15
Paul and his companions were Jews. Make no mistake about this. Although we will read further in this narrative of Acts 13 about how they were preaching the Gospel more and more to the Gentiles, they still began in the synagogues.
And they didn’t just go to the synagogue in Jerusalem or the Galilee region, there were Jews all over the Mediterranean and the ancient near east. They were currently making their way through modern day Turkey in what they called Pisidian Antioch which was only one stop among dozens. And in each one, Paul would traditionally show up first to the synagogue to preach to fellow Jews.
So in this place, it was no different. On the Sabbath they came into the synagogue and sat down, as the text tells us. “After reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders sent word to them, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation fro the people, please speak.” And boy, did they have a word! The rest of this chapter Paul lays out a summarizing history of the Jews and the coming of Jesus. Rarely do we see a more succinct explanation of the Gospel.
What seemed like just another synagogue on the Sabbath resulted in a great exhortation from Paul promoting the Gospel. Many Jews believed while many others rejected their message, as we will see. But Paul was doing what the Lord called him to do — he preached the good news of Jesus Christ for the repentance of sins.
You and I have received a similar calling. In Matthew 28, when Jesus offers the great commission to his disciples to “go and make disciples,” that charge is for all believers. It’s not only for the preachers or pastors, teachers or leaders. It is for all people. We are called to carry forth the message of the cross.
To whom do you need to share Jesus’ message? How might you be used by Christ to communicate his love to the world in which you live, move and have your being? Let’s go forward as Christ’s ambassadors, bringing a word of hope and exhortation to a world in need.
“O Lord God, come now, to me. Fill me, call me, send me, use me. Allow me to be sent so I might be faithful to your calling in me life. I praise you Lord for I am wonderfully made. You knit me together. You know my name. And you’ve give me a purpose. I love you Lord and thank you for saving me. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen