Verse 1 – Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Gentiles believed.
They spoke with such power that multitudes believed. This is where Timothy became acquainted with Paul. See 2 Timothy 3:10, 11.
Verse 2 – But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.
Verse 3 – Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Do you see what was happening here? They spoke boldly in the Lord, and He, Jesus, gave them the ability to perform signs and wonders, and miracles. Though Jesus is absent in body, He still does the work through believers, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now why would this same power not be for today, as some say it’s not? I can tell you with strong conviction and witness, the same Holy Spirit that worked through these men then, is the same Spirit that does work through those that belong to Him today! God never changes.
Verse 4 – But the multitudes of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
Even after seeing miracles, some chose not to believe. Blindness and rejection of the truth lies at the root of unbelief. If you don’t believe, don’t expect to receive.
Verse 5 – And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them,
Verse 6 – they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.
Verse 7 – And they were preaching the gospel there.
Verse 8 – And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was, sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked.
Verse 9 – This man heard Paul speaking. Paul observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed,
Verse 10 – said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.
I wonder how Paul knew this man had faith to be healed. I believe the Holy Spirit confirms it within our spirit. There is a certain countenance about a person that truly has faith in Christ. When we have allowed the Holy Spirit to flow, without hinder in us, He tells us what we need to know. Then the command is given, and the miracle occurs!
Verse 11 – Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonia language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”
Verse 12 – And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
Zeus and Hermes were also known as Jupiter and Mercury. Now these people thought these two gods had come down for a visit.
Verse 13 – Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.
Verse 14 – But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitudes, crying out.
Verse 15 – And saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all the things that are in them,
Verse 16 – “who in by gone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.
Verse 17 – “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”
Paul responds to these people that God never leaves Himself without a testimony. Rain and crops, for example, are evidence of God’s goodness. Later Paul wrote that this evidence in nature leaves people without an excuse for unbelief (Romans 1:20).
Verse 18 – And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.
Paul Is Stoned
Verse 19 – Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitude, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.
Bad people will often travel further to do evil than good people will to do good; and wicked people often show more zeal in opposing the gospel than professed Christians do in advancing it.
Verse 20 – However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
Was Paul dead? Why else would they have dragged his body outside the city and left him if there were still signs of life? Would they have not finished the job? Luke writes , “The disciples gathered around him,” no doubt praying, and he rose up and went back into the city, you decide.
Verse 21 – And when they had preached the gospel to that city (Derbe) and made disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch,
These are the same cities where men came from, to stone Paul. They went back to Lystra, were he was stoned, and then on to Iconium and Antioch. These same men who had thought Paul was dead would see him alive and preaching!
Verse 22 – strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
Paul and Barnabas returned to encourage these believers even though they were surrounded by enemies of the gospel. They needed further instruction in the truth and to establish their faith of the gospel.
Verse 23 – So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Verse 24 – And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
Verse 25 – Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
Verse 26 – From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.
Verse 27 – And when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Verse 28 – So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
Have you noticed that wherever Paul went, he preached basically the same message about Jesus Christ. The focus was always on Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection. And that dear friends, is why the church was added to daily. That Gospel of forgiveness of sins, caused people to repent, be baptized in water and then baptized in the Holy Spirit. Any other gospel, will not get you saved! Everything that was created, was created, “By Him, through Him, and for Him,” Jesus Christ!