30 Aug 2020
There were 16 cities called Antioch in the Western area of the Mediterranean Sea. Paul and Barnabas had had a great send-off from Antioch in Syria as they set out on their first missionary journey together.
Eventually they reached another Antioch, this time in a region called Pisidia (in modern Turkey). It was an important city a Roman colony and a place with a large Jewish population. Paul and Barnabas went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day and as was the custom the visitors were invited to 'bring a word of encouragement to the people' (verse 15).
So Paul got up and preached what would have been quite a long sermon. And that sermon was interesting — Paul began by tracing some of the history of the Jewish people and their special relationship with God. Then he showed the people how Jesus Christ fits into that relationship.
This shows how Jesus Christ was indeed a historical figure a real man as well as being God's Saviour, even though the Jewish leaders wanted him dead. Several people in the synagogue were impressed with Paul's message and wanted him to come and preach again but others said no and even had Paul and his friends driven out of the city. How different this reception was from the send-off they got from the other Antioch (in Syria). However, even in this new Antioch there were those who became devout followers of Jesus. God was there helping Paul.
Dear Lord, give us courage to proclaim the Gospel in the cities in our country. Amen.