Understanding Acts | Continuance | Acts 14.1-7 | Movementministriesblog.com

by | Jan 19, 2023

“At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, where they continued to preach the gospel.” Acts 14.1-7

When I was a student in college, I ran a marathon. It was my first and only. I ran it in a reasonably good time of 3.41 minutes. It was 26.2 miles at 8 minutes and 20 seconds on average. Not bad for never running in any race before that time. I used a running schedule in the magazine Runners World and for the months leading up to the race, meticulously followed the running schedule. And although I never ran another marathon, it birthed a love of running in me that would continue to this day.

I share this with you because what Paul and Barnabas are doing in Acts is running a marathon as they preach the Gospel to the Ancient Near East. They have heard and received the Word for themselves. They’ve encountered Jesus and now are doing the work that he called and commissioned them to do. They are running the race in city after city. And often, their reception is less than cordial.

As was their custom, they went to the synagogue’s first. They were Jews and it was there they found a natural stopping place. It was like walking into familiar territory. Although they were unknown to the Jews in these towns, they were not strangers. As Jews, they shared a commonality which allowed them to be welcomed in any synagogue they entered.

And yet, they received mixed responses everywhere they went. They initially received a great response of many of the Jews and Gentiles who believe the Word of God. But there were always some who rejected the message and stirred up trouble for them among the town causing them to leave. But before they did, they preached relentlessly sharing the good news of Christ accompanied by signs and wonders.

Paul and Barnabas were marathon runners in their own right. They didn’t sprint the race and give up in just one town. They went to city after city, missionary journey after mission journey proclaiming the hope of Jesus.

What is it that Christ is calling you to do for the Kingdom? How is he calling you to communicate his grace and love to a world in need of redemption? Are you trying to sprint your way through life or are you willing to run a marathon race for the Lord? Commit your ways to him, lace up your sneakers, and prepare to do that which he has called you to do by his grace and for his glory.

“O Lord God, you are good. I feel like I am in a marathon race at the moment! Ministry is wild and wonderful. Fruit is being born and new churches being birthed. And yet, my strength and my calling comes from you. None of this was my idea. The boots on the ground enable us to run along side you, but the vision – that comes from you. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill this space, my heart, this room. Allow me to know the power of your Word and the Witness of your Spirit. I praise you Lord and love your name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen