Good Afternoon,I am taking some time off with family the remainder of this week – posts will be spotty, and off schedule!
The same thing occurred in Iconium, where Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. 2But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who testified to the word of his grace by granting signs and wonders to be done through them. 4But the residents of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. 5And when an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6the apostles learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country; 7and there they continued proclaiming the good news.
Paul and Barnabas go from Psidian Antioch to Iconium, some 87 miles away. Since these men are walking that is quite a distance to travel, and they should have left behind the trouble they had encountered in Antioch. Following their usual pattern they went into the Jewish synagogue to teach, and a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. But those Jews who did not believe stirred up others among the Gentiles, and “poisoned” their minds. Are there people who poison people’s minds today? Who would you think of? Perhaps ISIS talking with disillusioned young people on social media? Or others who spread fear and hate? How do we avoid allowing such people to poison our minds? Generally, people who are not sure who they are; those whose identity is uncertain – who need a “gang” to provide them an identity and protection, whatever kind of “gang” that is, are the ones susceptible to that sort of poison! (And you may as well know that I include racism in that as much as I do ISIS! Both are about hate for anyone outside your group.) We defend ourselves against that by knowing what we believe, and who we are, by being followers of Christ!
For Paul and Barnabas, they knew who they were, and what they were called to do, and who they served; and they stayed a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord! And there were miracles and signs done through them during that time. But the tension between those who supported them, and those who opposed them, was growing – and they got word that there was a plan afoot to stone them. And so, once again, they fled, now going to Lystra and Derbe. (Check for these on the map I sent a couple of days ago.)