Confession is good for the soul, they say. So here goes. In high school I didn’t read Silas Marner. I was supposed to. I wanted to (I love to read). But I was too busy. So I read the Cliffs Notes. Sorry, Mrs. Hayes. There, I feel better already.
In Acts 13:13-52, Paul and Barnabas are preaching in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch and give what is akin to the Cliffs Notes version of the Old Testament. It’s a pretty amazing summary of 39 books with, catch this, the most pertinent and important information highlighted for us: Jesus’ resurrection was the fulfillment of God’s ancient promises. (I hope you’ll read this passage, but you should still read the rest of the OT!).
Paul calls this message the “good news” of God (v. 32). The message was initially well-received. The apostles were invited back to speak the next week and found an even larger crowd wanting to hear them… “almost the whole city” Luke tells us.
But the devil got involved. The religious leaders began turning people against the apostles – they pulled political strings with some well-placed folks in high standing. Paul and Barnabas were expelled from the region and took their message to the Gentiles who were “glad and honored” to receive the word of God. As the scene closes Luke tells us: “So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:51-52, NIV)
I assume you, like me, strive to live and share the good news of Jesus. I think this account in Luke can tell us what to expect: Some will be glad and honored to receive the message we share – and will receive eternal life (v. 48). But some will reject your message or your lifestyle and some will even “persecute” you for your message and/or lifestyle.
We can take a lesson from Paul and Barnabas on how to respond when we’re rejected. Don’t get offended. Don’t get angry. We recognize that we are ““Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” (Matthew 5:11, NIV). Shaking the dust may be a “protest”, but it’s not a curse. It just means, I’m moving on. And so we move on…filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Keep sharing the good news…use words if you must.