Luke here records the essential aspects of what Jesus after his resurrection commanded his disciples to do (“the Great Commission”). Paul and Barnabas entered Iconium, proclaimed to Jews the good news that the Messiah had come (vv. 1-3). Many Jews and Gentiles believed, but unbelieving Jews persecuted the preachers and divided the city, causing Paul and Barnabas to leave and go to Lystra and Derbe (vv. 4-7). There the preachers did the same thing, with the same results (vv. 8-20).
While in Lystra the Lord through Paul healed a man lame from birth (vv. 8-10). Believers rightly interpreted this event as a miraculous work of the God of the Bible. Unbelieving idolaters wrongly interpreted this event as a miraculous work of their gods Zeus and Hermes (vv. 11-13). Paul and Barnabas stridently preached against this, calling them to repent of their idolatry and turn to the living God (vv. 14-18).
Before the preachers returned home (v. 26) they organized Christian’s in these cities into local churches, stabilizing them in the faith through instruction, and appointed pastors in the churches (vv. 21-23).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Human hearts are unchanged since the events of Acts 14. Unbelievers are just as committed to idolatry, and their only hope is in Jesus Christ. Christian, we must tell them that they “should turn from these useless things to the living God”!
- Christ’s commands he gave after he rose from the dead (the “great commission”) does not stop when souls trust Christ in response to the gospel. They must be baptized, built up and strengthened in the faith, and formed into/added to local churches with godly leadership. Jesus’ commands are unchanged since the events of Acts 14!
- Paul and Barnabas worked and accomplished what they did because of God’s grace (v. 26). God’s grace was indispensable—they depended on nothing else. Nothing has changed since Acts 14!