About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Chapter 13

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ch. 13:1-3    ch. 13:4-12    ch. 13:13-52

Barnabas And Saul Sent Off  (ch. 13:1 - 3)

Acts 13 begins a new era in church history.  From chapter 13 to the end of the book covers the time period from around 45 A D to around 62 A D. The emphasis of these chapters is the missionary trips that Paul took throughout the Roman Empire .  We no longer see Peter with such frequency as we did before this chapter.  

We should remember that Barnabas was originally from Cyprus.  I'm sure he agreed with the Holy Spirit to head off to Cyprus first.

From chapter 13 to 21:16 we see Paul the free man, and from there on out we see Paul as the prisoner for the gospel, yet whether free or in chains, Paulís primary motivation is to preach the good news of Jesus to anyone who will listen, whether they be kings or poppers.

Verse 1 opens with mentioning Antioch.  This Antioch is in Syria, north of Damascus and east of Tarsus.  It was the third largest city in the Roman Empire. It was noted for being a wild city.   You might call it a party city, known for its chariot races.     

In verse 1 Luke says there were prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch .  Luke mentions five men who would fit into this group, including Barnabas and Saul.  Some Greek scholars suggest because of the Greek sentence structure here the first two or three men might be prophets while the last three men might be teachers. 

The word "church" is translated from the Greek word "ecclesia", which simply means a group of people who have been called out of the general public for a specific purpose.  This word was not a religious word.  It would have been used for any kind of civic or social group.  Here, it is in reference to Christians. 

When the text says that there was a church at Antioch , we should not understand church as we do in our twenty first century.  We should understand the church at Antioch to simply be a community of people who have given their lives to Jesus.  The only real structure they had was a group of men called elders who would care for the people of God.  Some of these elders might well have been prophets and teachers as verse 1 might suggest.  Some might say that elders are elders, prophets are prophets, and, teachers are teachers.  These jobs don't overlap, but I believe a close study of the New Testament shows that they do over lap.  Paul was clearly and apostle and a teacher.  Peter was clearly an apostle and an elder.            

Verse 1 clearly suggests that Saul was either a prophet or a teacher.  He was not yet an apostle because he had not yet been sent out as an apostle.  We need to note that Paul first came to Jesus on the road to Damascus in or around 35 A D.  Here in chapter 13 it is around 49 A D.  It is most likely that five or six years had already passed since Barnabas and Saul delivered the financial support to Jerusalem .  It is thus clear that about fourteen years had passed from Paulís conversion to this point of time in Lukeís account.  During this time, the best we can know is that Saul was a teacher or prophet in Antioch , possibly making tents to support himself.  It's clear that Paul had a teaching ministry, so, if I had to guess, he was a teacher in Antioch.

Note Manaen in verse 1.  The text says that he was brought up with Herod.  This Herod was Herod Agrippa who had John the Baptist killed.   

In verse 2 we see the apostolic calling of Barnabas and Saul.  The five teachers and prophets were fasting and worshipping the Lord when the Holy Spirit spoke to them.  How the Spirit spoke to them is not clearly stated.  In my thinking, since there were prophets among them, one or more of these prophets spoke a word of prophecy that witnessed to each manís spirit. 

The Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for
 the work to which I have called them". The Holy Spirit was telling these men to separate Barnabas and Saul from the rest of the other three men, as well as from the rest of the church in Antioch to serve Jesus. 

Jesus was calling these two men to a new mission.  Of course, Barnabas and Saul were already doing the work of the Lord, but now the direction of that work would change.

The Greek word translated here as "worshiping" is "leitourgeo" from which we get our English word "liturgy".  This Greek word literally means "to do service". 

In verse 3 we note that after hearing this word from the Lord the other three, or possibly even more men, fasted some more and prayed.  They then laid hands on Barnabas and Saul and sent them off.  We see that the laying on of hands is something that the early church practiced.  It was Jesus who called these two men to their new jobs.  It was men in the local church who laid their hands on them and actually sent them off. 

I said earlier that Paul was most likely a teacher here in Antioch, but not an apostle as yet.  It was here that he actually became an apostle.  Some might suggest that Paul was called to be an apostle in Acts 9 when he first met Jesus.  That might be so, but the confirmation of that calling seemed to have taken place here. 

In Ephesians 4:11 we see the four gifts of Christ, as they are usually named.  They are prophets, apostles, evangelists, and pastor/teachers.  We often separate these ministries into separate and distinct callings of God, but I think this passage clearly suggests that the lines are blurred somewhat between these ministries.  There seems to be much overlapping in these ministries.  Paul is seen here as a teacher and an apostle.  Part of being an apostle is teaching and speaking the Word of God prophetically.  This might suggest that we should be careful in how we promote certain ministries.  They're all somewhat similar with slight variations

 

On Cyprus (ch. 13:4 - 12)

Verse 4 tells us that the Holy Spirit sent Barnabas and Saul on their way.  The word "sent" in the Greek is an aorist verb.  This suggests the process of sending was somewhat continuous because an aorist verb is a uncompleted, or, continuous action.  It is uncertain that the Holy Spirit simply sent Barnabas and Saul on their way or sent them specifically to Cyprus .  I speculate that because Barnabas was originally from Cyprus, that had something to do with the direction the two men went. 

Note that even though it was the brothers who laid hands on Barnabas and Saul, it was the Holy Spirit who called them and sent them.  It is important that Christian leaders be clear that it is the will of the Holy Spirit in all of the appointments they make.

Notice the order in names here.  It's Barnabas and Saul.  This order remains until Saul becomes the more predominant of the two men.  Right now, it is Barnabas who is the predominant of the two.    

Verse 5 tells us that when Barnabas and Saul reach Cyprus they preached the gospel in the Jewish synagogue.  This would turn out to be Saulís way of doing things.  When entering a new city, he would first go to the synagogue to preach to the Jews.  I believe Paul went to the Jews first because of the principle he set forth in Romans 1:16.  It simply stated, "to the Jew first and then to the Gentile".  This is a Scriptural truth we all need to understand.  Paul was clearly not a Replacement Theologian.  He did not believe that the church replaced Israel.  His very actions of preaching to the Jews makes this clear.     

On the other hand, it would be normal for Saul and Barnabas to preach in the synagogue, since the Jews had somewhat of a foundation to start with, meaning, and the knowledge of the Old Testament.  These Jews also, since they lived outside of Jerusalem, had Gentile neighbours they could relate the gospel to. Whatever the case, this became the pattern of preaching for Saul.

Luke notes that John Mark came with them to help out.  Mark would later become a source of difficulty between Barnabas and Saul.  This is the Mark who wrote the gospel of Mark.  He later became a co-worker with Peter.  It is often thought that Mark got most of his knowledge from Peter in order to write his gospel account. 

In verses 6 and 7 we see that while crossing the island of
Cyprus
the three men met up with a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus.  Bar-Jesus was also called Elymas.  He was an attendant to Sergius Paulus, the proconsul.  A proconsul was a Roman governor of a province, and in this case the province of Cyprus.  Luke tells us the Sergius Paulus was an intelligent man and wanted to hear the Word of God from Barnabas and Saul.  Just for your information, we do have extra Biblical Roman records that Sergius Paulus did exist. 

We see in verse 8 that it appears Sergius was near to believing because Elymas opposed Barnabas and Saul, and then tried to turn Sergius from the faith.  Obviously, this was the work of the devil.  It is said that Elymas was a Jew because of his name.  He obviously was an apostate Jew which would have made Paul quite upset.    

In verse 9 we read, "then Saul who was also called PaulÖ"  Saul had two names.  Saul was his Jewish name, probably named after King Saul of Old Testament fame.  Paul was his Roman name.  Paul was a Jew by birth and a Roman by virtue of the fact he was born in Tarsus , a Roman city. This is the first mention in Acts that Saul was also Paul.  Another reason why some say Paul was a Roman citizen is that they believe his father was a Roman.  I believe it's a misunderstanding to say that Saul changed his name to Paul.  He was simply known by both names, depending on where he was at any given time.

To date we have known Saul as Saul, but now we know him as Paul.  This change is most likely due to the fact that he is now ministering in Roman territory and therefore his Roman name might be more acceptable.  We do know that Paul tried to be all things to all people so that he could win as many people to the Lord as possible. (1 Corinthians 9:22)  When I say this, I do need to say that in the becoming of all things to all people, he did not compromise the gospel.  He did draw the line in the sand, so to speak.     

In verse 9 Luke tells us that Paul was filled with the Spirit when he confronted Elymas.  Here again we see the term "filled with the Holy Spirit".  Every time we see this phrase in the book of Acts it means the Holy Spirit comes on someone in special power to do something special in the service of the Lord.  In this instance, Paul rebukes this demonic magic man.   Paul tells this man that he is "a child of the devil".  Paul told him that the hand of the Lord is against him and that he would be blind for a period of time.  Paul clearly ministers in the power of God, which he claims is a sign or mark of a true apostle in 2 Corinthians 12:12.  In our modern church, I really don't think we'd consider doing such a thing even if we had the power that Paul had. 

Why Paul made this man blind and not deaf or dumb we don't know.  Maybe he did so because this is how Jesus got his attention on the road to Damascus in Acts 10. 

Verse 11 says that "immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking for someone to lead him by the hand".  When the proconsul saw this demonstration of power by Paul, he believed.  Luke, in verse 2 says that "he was amazed by the teaching of the Lord".  Of course the teaching was not in word alone, but could be seen in this miraculous sign.  In the last verse of the gospel of Mark Jesus said that His followers would go out and preach the gospel and He would confirm their preaching with miraculous signs.  This was sure working in Paul's life.   

  

In Pisidian Antioch  (ch. 13:13 - 52)

Verse 13 says, "From Paphos, Paul and his company sailedÖ"  We note a change in relationship here between Barnabas and Saul.  They are no longer called Barnabas and Saul, but Paul and Barnabas, or as it is in this case, Paul and his company.  Paul now becomes the predominant one. 

We also note in verse 13 that at this point John Mark left Paul and Barnabas and returned to Jerusalem for some reason.  This event will cause a division between Paul and Barnabas as we will see later.

Mark left these men at Perga.  In verse 14 we note that from their Paul and his company went to Antioch of Pisidian.  This is not Antioch in Syria where we have seen Paul and Barnabas earlier.  This Antioch was well inland, north of the Mediterranean Sea . It was located in Pamphylia which was a Roman province.

In verse 15 we see that it was on the Sabbath, most likely the first Sabbath they were there, they went to the local synagogue.  After the reading from the Law and Prophets Paul was invited up to speak words of encouragement.   The synagogue rulers invited Paul to speak and called him their brother, that is their brother in Judaism, not their brother in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 16 begins Paulís first message that is recorded for us, and it is directed towards the Jews.  He speaks to Jews, but also to Gentile converts to Judaism.  Paul is a good speaker.  He always preaches the gospel in a way that will be understood by his listeners.  Since his listeners are Jewish he relates to them some of their history.

Like Stephen back in Acts 7, Paul begins his message with Jewish history.  In verse 17 he starts with the children of Israel while they were being blessed in Egypt.  He mentions that God led them out of Egypt and endured their conduct for about forty years. He goes on to remind his listeners that God overthrew seven nations in order for His people to receive their inherited land.  Paul says that all this took about four hundred and fifty years. 

These four hundred and fifty years consisted roughly of four hundred years in Egypt , forty years in the desert, and about ten years trying to conquer the land.

Once Israel had their own land and became a nation God gave them judges to rule over them, that is, until the time came when they wanted a king like other nations.  God then gave them Saul.  After Saul, came David, a man after Godís own heart.  It was for this reason that David became king.

One thing we should note, and I will not go into detail here, is that even though Israel became a nation, they never got all the land that was promised them by God in what is called the Abrahamic Covenant.  This covenant was reaffirmed by God to both Isaac and Jacob.  They will get all the land when Jesus returns to earth at the end of this age and hands the land over to Israel. 

The turning point in Paul's message is found in verse 23 when Paul begins to link Jewish history with Jesus.  Paul says, "From this manís descendents God has brought to Israel the Saviour Jesus".  Paul clearly states that Jesus is the Saviour, the long waited for Messiah of Israel.  At this point the ears of the Jews would have perked right up.  Paul says that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah.  Those in attendance would have understood the Messiah's arrival is yet to come.

In verse 24 Paul backs up a bit.  Before Jesus came on the scene John the Baptist came preaching repentance to Israelis and baptized many.  In verse 25 Paul states how John felt about Jesus.  John knew that he himself was not the Messiah but was pointing the way to the Messiah Jesus.

In verse 26 Paul says, "Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing GentilesÖ"  Paul is re-addressing his message to these people for the sake of emphases.  The point that he wants to make very clear is that "it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent".  By using the word "us", Paul is referring to himself and the Jews.  He is associating himself with his audience, and that he should.  He was a Jew.  He was one of them.  The gospel message and its reality was for the Jews.  It had been prophesied about throughout the Old Testament.  That being said, after the message was preached to the Jews, the gospel would be opened up to the rest of the world.  

The next few verses, beginning with verse 27, seem to be words taken almost from the mouth of Peter on the day of Pentecost.  Paul says, "The people of Jerusalem did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning Him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath".  Like Peter, and probably like all first generation Christians, Paul stressed the point that the Jews, and especially their leaders rejected Jesus and condemned Him to death.  Obviously many would take acception to this, but even though the Jewish leaders were behind this condemnation, Paul points out that this was prophesied centuries ago, and that this was the will of God.  This is one reason why I believe, though the Jews and certain Gentiles were used in the death of Jesus, it was God Himself who actually was ultimately behind the death of Jesus.

Paul specified exactly what Jews killed Jesus.  It was the Jews in Jerusalem , not the Jews to whom he was speaking.  I don't know if Paul intended to make this distinction or not, but there is that distinction that could be made.     

In verse 29 Paul says that "when they carried out all that was written about Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb".  Paul, a scholar of the Old Testament, was doing his best to link Jesus with the prophecies of old.  This was his technique when speaking to a Jewish audience.  That only makes sense.

Paul continues in verse 31 by saying, "but God raised Him from the dead".  We have seen these very words used by Peter as well in his messages.  Jewish people, with the help of certain Gentiles, killed Jesus, but God raised Him from the dead.  The resurrection is a very important part of the gospel.  You cannot preach the gospel without speaking of the resurrection of Jesus.  If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, then the Christian message ends with the death of Jesus.  That would affectively make our Christian lives useless.

Paul goes on to say that many people saw the risen Jesus and they are now His witnesses to the fact that He did indeed rise from the dead.  Once again, there is no difference in the gospel message that we see Paul preaching and the gospel message that we have seen Peter preach. 

In verses 32 and 33 Paul calls this the good news.  He said that what God has promised He has fulfilled for his present generation by raising Jesus from the dead.  Paul provides three Old Testament quotes to prove the fact that Jesus was in fact Godís son and that He did rise from the dead. 

Paul quotes Psalm 2:7 to prove his point that Jesus was in fact the long awaited for Messiah.  The Psalm reads as follows.  "You are my son; today I have become your Father".  This is the question that must be asked in light of this verse. "Was not Jesus God's Son prior to His resurrection"?  "Why does God say that 'today' Jesus became His Son"?  We need to understand that prior to incarnation Jesus was so united with God that I don't believe He was distinguishable as any kind of separate identity, like a son.  The fact of the matter is that God Himself became human when by the Holy Spirit Mary conceived her son in her womb.  Prior to the incarnation, I'm not sure you could call Jesus the Son of God.  He was God.  At His birth in humanity, Jesus became a somewhat human Son of God.  I say somewhat because Jesus had no earthly father.  Once Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, He took on a new kind of spiritual type body.  As Paul points out in Romans, Jesus was the first born of many sons.  In this sense of the word, Jesus became that new kind of Son that this Psalm speaks of.  Those of us who will experience life with Jesus in our resurrected bodies will be like Jesus.  He is the first of this new bread of eternal sons.      

In verse 34 Paul quotes Isaiah 55:3 in defense of the fact that Jesus rose from the dead.  Isaiah prophesied that God would give the Messiah the blessings promised to King David.  This speaks of the Davidic Covenant.  Paul is restating the Biblical fact that the Messiah would some day sit on David's throne and rule Israel.  Although that had not yet taken place, Paul quotes this passage to prove that Jesus rose from the dead.  If Jesus remained dead, then he obviously couldn't receive the promise spoken to David.  He couldn't be the coming King of Israel.

Lastly, in verse 35, Paul quotes Psalm 16:10 where the Psalmist predicts that the Messiah would not see corruption.  In Paul's mind Jesus was the Messiah.  If his body did not see total corruption, then Jesus must have rose from the dead.    

These Scriptures are similar to the Scriptures that Peter used on the day of Pentecost to prove the resurrection.  Paul goes on to say in verses 36 and 37 that when David spoke of his body not seeing decay, he was not talking about himself.  The words were prophetic.  They were meant to be interpreted in a Messianic way.   Paul says that the one God raised from the dead did not fall asleep as did David.  The simple fact is that David died.  His body saw corruption and therefore David could not have been talking about himself.   

Verses 38 and 39 say, "therefore my brother, through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the Law of Moses".  This is the first time we see the word justification used in the book of Acts.  Paul goes into great detail regarding this word in his letter to the Romans.

Justification is the process by which we are forgiven, even to the degree that God no longer sees our sin when it comes to our salvation.  I believe God is not blind.  I believe He still sees our sin, even as Christians, but He does not count those sins against us, because we have accepted His provision that is the blood of Jesus.   God declares those who trust Jesus as being righteous.  Even though God sees our sins, He has wiped them out of his record book, never to be counted against us in future judgment.  The believer now stands in a legal place of right standing before the God of the universe, even though in an earthly reality he is far from living as one in right standing before God.  

Another way to describe justification is to say that God the Judge has acquitted us, or taken away the punishment due to us for our sin.  As Supreme Judge He sees us as guilt free, not needing any punishment.

This is the first mention, and it is from Paulís lips, that the Law cannot justify anyone, even the Jews.  What Paul is saying is that when you stand before God the Judge, if you are planning on using the Law of Moses for your defense, as the Jews would have, you will lose your case.  The good news is that we have no defense.  Jesus has and will defend us according to what He has done for us.

In verse 40 Paul warns his listeners not to be scoffers, but to believe his words as being the Word of God.  He quotes from Habakkuk 1:5 to point out his concern.  The prophet warns his audience that some day the Lord would do something very special that would be hard to believe.  This special thing is salvation that comes only through trusting in Jesus.  The day Habakkuk prophesied about had now come according to Paul and many of those hearing this message were scoffing at Paul. 

After Paul had finished speaking, he and Barnabas left the synagogue and were invited to come back the next Sabbath, as seen in verse 42.  Note that Paul never gave an alter call. He didnít appear to invite people to come and get saved.  He simply preached the gospel to them.   Paul never led these people in a sinner's prayer.  I believe he left all of that up to the Holy Spirit.

In verse 43 Luke says that many of the Jews and Gentile converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas and talked further of these things.  Paul tells these people to "stay in the grace of God".  This is interesting.  By using the words "stay in the grace of God", that means that these people were in the grace of God, or at least I think.  This implies that at some point in Paulís message it seems these people had come to believe, thus Paul could say "stay in the grace of God".  We have no word of Paul praying for these people to receive the Holy Spirit.   How Paul knew these people were now in the grace of God I just don't know.  The text does not say, but because of the last verse of this chapter where Luke records these people being filled with the Holy Spirit, I believe this filling was evident to all.

In verses 44 and 45 we note that Paul came back the next Sabbath.  Luke says that almost the whole city came out to hear Paul this time.  He had surely made an impression on these people. This came to be a problem with the Jewish leadership.  As with Jesus, and as with Peter, and now with Paul, the Jewish leaders were jealous of the crowds.  Paul was getting bigger crowds than them.  As a result they opposed everything Paul said.

Answering the Jewish opposition, in verse 45 both Paul and Barnabas tell the Jewish leadership that they must preach the gospel to the Jews first.  This is because of the Scriptural principle that Paul states in Romans 1:16 that says, "to the Jew first and then to the Gentile".  That being said, since the Jews were now rejecting the gospel, Paul and Barnabas said that they'd now preach to the Gentiles.   

How did Paul know the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles?   Paul quotes from Isaiah 49:6 to back his statement.  "I have made you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth".  In the mind of God, salvation has always been to all people.  

This Isaiah quote is very interesting.  First of all, when Isaiah prophesied that "I made you a light to the Gentiles ...", the pronoun "you" is singular, not plural.  In its Old Testament context, the singular you refers to Israel .  God was viewing Israelis as a national whole.  He was speaking of Israel as a nation as being a light to the Gentiles.  In other words, national Israel was to represent Yahweh to the other nations of the world.

Now, Paul was using this passage that referred to Israel as a nation to support the fact that he was going to preach to the Gentiles.  It is clear that Paul still believed that Israel was to be a light to the Gentiles.  Therefore, at least to this point in church history, Replacement Theology is not a Scriptural doctrine because Paul clearly believed that Israel as a nation still had great significance in the eyes of God.    

You can see from all the Scriptures Paul uses in defense of the gospel that he feels the Scriptures are of utmost importance.  He clearly points out here that one way in which he hears from the Lord is through the Bible, which was the Old Testament in his case.  Paul based all he preached on the Old Testament.  He especially preached from the Old Testament when preaching to Jews.  Jews needed to know what Paul was preaching finds its meaning in the Old Testament.

Paul turned to the Gentiles out of frustration.  The Lord told Paul years ago, at his conversion, that he would witness to the Gentiles, but it might not have been until this point that he really understood this call to ministry.  This understanding, and change of direction in Paulís ministry, came out of frustration.  This tells me that the Lord can use frustration in our lives as a way to speak to us and bring change in direction to our lives.  

In verse 48 we note that the Gentiles heard that Paul was giving himself to them and they were glad and honoured the Word of the Lord.  I believe the specific Gentiles spoken of here were the Gentile converts to Judaism.  I say this because they were part of the audience Paul was talking to.  Gentile pagans would not have accepted Paul so readily.  What angered the Jews delighted the Gentiles. 

In Paulís letter to the Romans, chapter 9 through 11, we see Paul's ideas on the relationship between the Jew and the Gentile.  He pictures the people of God as a tree.  It once was a Jewish tree, and now some Jewish branches have been cut off, while some new Gentile branches have been grafted in.  Paul now begins his ministry to help graft in these new Gentile branches, since some Jews have disqualified themselves from being part of this tree.  That being said, we have to realize that this is still a Jewish tree.

In verse 48 Luke writes an interesting statement.  He says, "All who were appointed to eternal life believed".  Calvinists would use this verse to prove their point concerning predestination, that is to say, God predetermines those who will be saved before they actually get saved.  I do not believe in this form of predestination.  I believe for many reasons that God has predetermined that all mankind be saved, but all of mankind is not saved because they do not want to receive salvation.  Even so, God can direct the steps of men, and lead them to a place of salvation where they make their choices with His help.  Certain Gentiles, who found themselves in the synagogue during Paulís preaching, were appointed to salvation because they believed the gospel.  They didn't believe the gospel because they were predetermined to believe it. 

In verse 49 we note that the Word of the Lord spread throughout the whole region.  The Word of the Lord was spread by those to whom Paul spoke. 

In verse 50 we see that the Jewish leadership incited God-fearing women.  Note the words "God-fearing women".  Because of the use of the word "God-fearing" that was commonly applied to God-fearing Gentiles, I believe these women were Gentile converts.  They were prominent wives in the community who would have encouraged their husbands to drive Paul and Barnabas out of town.  The Gentiles would have had control of this Gentile city.  The Jews could have used their help in this matter.  

In verse 51, as a result of the expulsion of Paul and Barnabas, they shook the dust off their feet in protest, something that was an outward action of disgust back then. 

Paul and Barnabas therefore went to Iconium.  Though Paul and Barnabas left many Christians behind, Luke ends this chapter in verse 52 by telling us that these new converts "were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit".  I am sure Paul was not happy leaving these people, but He understood the power of the Holy Spirit to look after these people.  I think Paul leaned heavily on the Holy Spirit to keep his converts in the faith.  He could not be with them all of the time.  He seldom ever saw them again.  Unlike in todayís world, when we have so many means to communicate over long distances to help out new converts, Paul had no such ability.  I think today that we too often depend on our own human reasoning and modern technology to maintain the faith of people.  The Holy Spirit must be allowed to work in the lives of Godís people to have any success in maintaining their faith.

We should note the mentioning of the Holy Spirit in verse 52.  Luke does not describe what the conversion of these people looked like.  Was it similar to Acts 2 or Acts 10?  Was there a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit?  Did these people speak in tongues?  Luke didn't tell us what their conversion looked like, but, because they were filled with the Holy Spirit, I can only conclude that they had an Acts2 or Acts 10 experience with the Holy Spirit.  I wish Luke would have told us more about what their conversion looked liked.  

 

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