But Jews came there from Antioch and Iconium and won over the crowds. Then they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the city. The next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, then on to Iconium and Antioch. There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.”
And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe. Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had completed. When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. And they stayed there with the disciples for some time.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The Gospel and its ministers have always been opposed. Acts recounts: “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” In the Gospel, Jesus prepares his disciples for difficult times ahead, such as Paul’s experience in today’s reading from Acts. Jesus says that the “ruler of the world is coming,” yet in the very next verse he reminds the disciples that “[the ruler of the world] has no power over me.” The hardships that Jesus predicts are real. Even today, Christians are persecuted for the faith in many parts of the world. However strong these persecutions are, the power of God is stronger. The power of God that allowed Paul to persevere in the face of persecution continues to bless those who suffer for the sake of the Gospel.
What grace do I need as I face today’s hardships?
Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If they listen to it and act on it, they give a great deal of what the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage to listen to your own goodness and act on it.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!