The team, now minus John Mark, moves on to Pisidian Antioch and visits the synagogue there.
About David Cook
David Cook was Principal of the Sydney Missionary and Bible College for 26 years. He is an accomplished writer and has authored Bible commentaries, books on the Minor Prophets, and several Bible study guides.
Entries by David Cook
Acts is great literature. Great literature has many layers of subtle meaning and Acts is no exception. Acts 13 sees the beginning of the first missionary journey.
Acts 12 begins so well for Herod. James is decapitated and Peter is imprisoned. Yet, the chapter ends with Peter walking free while Herod is struck down, eaten by worms, and dies (v. 23). Here is evidence of God’s hidden hand at work.
The church at Antioch in Syria, north of Jerusalem, is the mother of almost all Gentile Christian churches. Due to God’s work (v. 21), there were many believers there and so the Jerusalem church responds by appointing Barnabas and sending him as their representative to nurture the believers.
News travels quickly. The news of the Holy Spirit’s coming on the Gentiles reaches Jerusalem before Peter does. The church there is horrified by reports of Peter mixing with Gentiles (v. 3).
God is the great evangelist, who often sets up seemingly coincidental meetings such as that between Philip and the Ethiopian on the Gaza Road. Now He is about to bring Peter and Cornelius together in a ground breaking, evangelistic encounter.
Again Luke reminds us that God is the sovereign and active evangelist. He is the expansive God, dealing with a people of limited vision—in this case Peter, the foremost apostle to the Jews.
The book of Acts has had many names throughout its life—for example, “The Deeds of the Apostles”, “The Acts of All the Apostles”, “The Acts of the Holy Spirit”, and “What Jesus Continued to Do”. Some of these titles seek to express the truth that in the Gospels are the records of what Jesus did in His life on earth, while in Acts we have the record of what Jesus continues to do through His Spirit, as He sits at God’s right hand.
Saul baffles the Jews in Damascus. They expect him to defend Judaism against the new movement, but now he is preaching that Jesus is the Son of God (v. 20) and proving that Jesus is the Christ (v. 22). Luke tells of their reaction, they are astonished (v. 21) and baffled (v. 22). Meanwhile, Saul grows more and more powerful. He cannot be beaten in argument and so the Jews plan to kill him instead (v. 23). Here is another example of unreasonable and unreasoning blind belligerence.
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