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Acts 13:13-52 – The Gospel that is preached at Pisidian Antioch

Continuing to travel and proclaim the gospel Paul and Barnabas travel to Pisidian Antioch, the home country of Sergius Paulus, their first convert in Cyprus. Did he ask them to go to his family and clan and share the good news?

In this passage Paul recounts the gospel that he preaches. Everything God did in the past was to lead to this moment – the way he chose Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the way he multiplied the people of Israel in Egypt and then brought them out of Egypt, how he brought them into the promised land and gave them David as king, and how from David’s family he raised up for them Jesus, the promised saviour.

Paul describes the contrasting verdict given by Jerusalem and God regarding Jesus. While Jerusalem rejected him and hung him on a tree (putting him to death on the cross), God raised him from the dead. In fact, for Paul, the resurrection is the heart of the gospel message. Paul quotes several Old Testament passages from Psalms and Isaiah that showed it was always God’s purpose to raise Jesus from the dead. It is because of God’s verdict in the resurrection of Jesus that everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law.

Ultimately the gospel requires a response. Some work toward driving Paul and Barnabas and their gospel from the town. Paul and Barnabas respond to this by wiping the dust off their feet as a sign of God’s rejection of these people. However, as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. These began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Interestingly, in verse 47, Paul quotes Isaiah 49:6 which says: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” Paul identifies himself as the servant of the Lord who once was blind but now having been healed of his blindness he now sees the work of the Lord and proclaims it to the nations that the nations might turn from idolatry to worship the true and living God. This is what happens in the next passage.