And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. And there they abode long time with the disciples.
Peer pressure is an amazing thing to watch. I’m thinking of today (the day I’m writing this, not posting this=). School should have been a snow day. My house is surrounded by about 16 inches of snow. Why my daughter’s school didn’t call a snow day? I don’t know. But yet, I do…it is because of peer pressure.
You see, I believe that all of the school administrators in Colorado believe that if they call a snow day they will be considered wimps. Talk about peer pressure. I am laughing because apparently the police academy called a snow day. I, however, have a deal with the school and get to make my own snow days since we live in the mountains. It’s a great deal, but I’m sorry for my poor teacher friends.
Somehow the unbelieving Jews from Antioch and Iconium convinced each other (peer pressure) to follow Paul and Barnabas to Lystra. Now from Iconium, Lystra was only about 20 miles. But from Antioch, Lystra was about 150 miles, a much bigger commitment. They were so determined to end Paul because he was such a dangerous threat. They convinced the people of Lystra to help them stone him outside the city and leave him for dead (more peer pressure).
God spared and strengthened Paul in a miraculous way. After Paul’s stoning, Paul got up, went into the city for the night and the next day traveled to Derbe with Barnabas. Pretty amazing for an almost dead guy! Paul and Barnabas preached in Derbe and won many to Christ and then the crazy men went back to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch to strengthen the faith of the believers. They were walking object lessons of continuing in the faith in spite of trials and persecutions. With much prayer and fasting (now there is a thought, I’ve not heard of a church fasting to ask the Lord for His direction in appointing church leadership), elders were appointed to lead the churches.
Paul and Barnabas wrapped up their travel by passing through Pisidia then Pamphylia. After ministering in Perga and Attalia, they sailed to Antioch, where the disciples were first called Christians. At the Antioch church, they were able to give the report of many Jews and Gentiles coming to faith. They stayed in Antioch for quite a while to rest and recover.
Paul and Barnabas were definitely fighting the pressure from unbelieving Jews. Many of those Jews were in positions of power and influence and had money to back up their pursuit of Paul. Even against great odds, God showed Himself faithful while protecting and strengthening Paul and Barnabas and their ministry. Their ministry was not done in their own power, but in God’s and it made all the difference.
Ministry done in God’s power is powerful ministry. Ministry done in the flesh is miserable and not fun. We need to all take a big lesson from Paul and Barnabas and do the work that God has called us to do in God’s power and not our own. Only then will we have the joy of God working in and through us against all odds or peer pressure. All we have to do is ask for that power. Are you asking?
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
To contact Kaye Dee, leave a comment, message us on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.