When you face opposition what do you do? I’ll be honest, my first response is to give up!
Today’s reading in Acts 14, encourages us to continue to Go and do what God has called us to do. Even when it gets harder than we could have imagined!
During this first missionary trip, Paul and Barnabas went to the town of Lystra. Here, they healed a man who had not ever been able to walk. The crowd who witnessed this miracle thought Paul and Barnabas were gods in human form. They brought bulls and wreaths to offer sacrifices to them. Paul and Barnabas attempted to redirect their praise to God, but the crowd did not relent.
The crowd got so riled up that they began to stone Paul. Believing he was dead, they dragged him outside the city. When the disciples gathered around him, Paul got up and went back inside the city.
I am pretty sure that I might have walked in the other direction, not back into the scene of angry people. After he went back into the city, the next day they left for Derbe.
After preaching the wonderful news of the gospel there and winning a large number of followers to Jesus, they retraced their steps and revisited Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. At each place they went, they strengthened the lives of believers and encouraged them to go deeper in their faith.
Once again, after the stoning, Paul continues on his journey and encourages the people to remain true to the faith. Paul doesn’t get mad at God, he continues serving Christ. He does not even complain. He just keeps on doing what God has called him to do – preach the Gospel.
The Gospel message has not changed, and the numbers of people who need to hear the Gospel are still beyond our ability to reach. We have a responsibility to continue the message just as Paul and Barnabas had. We also can expect rejection. But, it is the message of the Gospel that is rejected, not us. May we be as bold and brave as Paul, to continue to get up and spread the message of Jesus to others, no matter the consequences. We are to be the salt and light to the world.
Now wherever you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit.