Acts 13:42-52: Mixed response.
“42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. 43 When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. 44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: ‘We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘“I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honoured the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. 49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit”.NIV UK
Whenever the gospel message is preached you see the parable of the sower being worked out. There are mixed responses. But the seed falling ‘’on good soil’’ is accepted, and produces ‘’a crop – thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown’’ (Mark 4:20). All the antagonism aroused could not eradicate the seed which had been so generously scattered. The ‘’jealousy’’ (45) of the Jews is a part of the continuation of the story of Jesus. That envy towards Him, showing itself in violent hostility, is a key part of the gospel story. This is another indication that Jesus is alive and continuing His ministry in and through the church (Acts 1:1). As we saw yesterday, Paul’s sermon called for belief in Jesus, through Whom there is justification, the forgiveness of sins (38, 39). ‘The doctrine of justification by faith, so closely associated with the work of Paul, is here stated for the first time. In Jesus there is forgiveness. For those who trust in Him, past sins are absolutely put away, never to be named again, never to be brought up at any future judgment day. Our record is as clear as the sand which has been swept smooth by the ocean waves. We are not only forgiven, but justified. We are treated as though we had never sinned…It is a present fact. You may not feel justified or forgiven, but if you are trusting in Jesus, you are at this moment as certainly and as fully justified as have been the saints in Heaven.’’ F.B.Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’,p.492. That is great news; the very best news! If you are a believer, rejoice in your salvation today. If you’re not a believer, what is it that stands between you and saving faith in Christ?