READING: ACTS 13:13-22
From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”
Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness; and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. All this took about 450 years.
“After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
Pisidian Antioch was a different city from Antioch of Syria, where there was already a flourishing church. This Antioch, in the region of Pisida, was a hub of good roads and trade, with a large Jewish population.
When Paul and Barnabas arrived, they headed straight to the synagogue; now…what happened in a synagogue service was this…
First, the Shema was recited several times (Deu 6:4) “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one”
Secondly, certain prayers were spoken, Then, there was a reading from the law (the first five books of the Bible), followed by a reading from the prophets intending to illustrate the law, and to conclude there was a sermon.
The synagogue leader decided who would lead the service and give the sermon. A different person was chosen each week and it was custom to invite visiting Rabbis to speak; this is how Paul and Barnabas got their opportunity.
I won’t tell you how Paul’s sermon ends (that will be in Monday’s podcast) but Paul starts his sermon with a short history lesson, he retells Israel’s history and how God has led them, provided for them and established them, ending with King David and telling them what God said about him “A man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”
How great that would be if the history of our lives were told and it ended with “they were a person after God’s own heart; they would do anything God wanted them to do.”
May our motivation today be to pursue God’s heart and do all that he wants of us… may we take the gospel to where it is desperately needed and hardest to find, and may we be the ones who change history and see God’s church grow throughout our world.
May we make God famous!
Father God, help us to know you better that we may make you known.
In Jesus name, Amen