Ok – so for years we’ve called them Paul’s “missionary” journeys – and that they are. But because evangelism & discipleship are inseparable – like two sides of the same coin – we’ll continue to see, in this chapter and throughout Acts, an emphasis by Paul on discipleship as well.
Iconium – P&B (my little title for Paul & Barnabas) are, as usual, preaching in the synagogue and seeing Jews & Gentiles believe. Some unbelieving Jews though decide to spread some rumors about them, which only causes P&B to stay longer, preach stronger and do a few miracles – ha! It then says a “plot was afoot” to stone them, so God sent them on to….
Lysrtra – While here, God give Paul the power to heal a man who was lame from birth. This results in the people want to worship & offer sacrifices to P&B – yikes! P&B get wind of this and tell ‘em to stop because “we too are only men.” Unbelieving Jews from Antioch don’t like this at all, so they stone Paul & drag him outside the city thinking he was dead. So the disciples gather around him and it says “he got up and went back into the city.” In the words from Princess Bride, I guess he was only “mostly dead!” He, he… The next day P&B leave for…
Derbe – It says that in Derbe “They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples.” Each time the Gospel is preached we see people believe. God is continuing the exponential growth of his church! They then headed for…
Lystra, Iconium, Antioch – Here they strengthened, encouraged & warned the disciples (this again is discipleship). They also appointed church leaders – prayed, fasted & committed them to the Lord and then left for…
Pisidia, Pamphylia, Perga, Attalia & back to Antioch – They had completed their first journey they were called to by the church leaders in Antioch in Acts 13:2. Verses 27-28 again give us more insight on early church growth & discipleship, “On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.”
*Where are you in your “journey” with the Lord? Are you sharing your faith in Christ with others? Often times we think that we need to know more, we need more discipleship. But making disciples who make disciples who make disciples is a constant process of both evangelism & discipleship. Read Philemon 6!
*When are you tempted to back down on your witness for Christ? At times God gave P&B boldness and at other times he moved them elsewhere – so how do you know when to do which? GREAT question! Not always sure myself of the answer. I’d say pray, listen to the Holy Spirit and don’t let fear be our motivation.
*Finally, when God does great things to & thru you, be sure to SHARE IT! It gives incredible encouragement and challenge to other believers!