Ok, so there is a lot to unpack in these 72 verses. The first 41 verses are from Paul, speaking to the people at Pisidian Antioch about God’s chosen people and how they came to be where they are at here in Acts. Some who heard Paul speak invited him to continue to speak, and by the next Sabbath, the crowds had increased, which led to jealousy amongst some of the Jews. Because the Jews began to reject Paul’s teaching, he and his companions turned their energy toward the Gentiles. As the abuse hurled toward Paul grew, he and his companions left the town. Despite all of the anger and hatred spewed at them, they left Pisidian Antioch with joy in their hearts.
They had a similar experience at Iconium. They left there and went to Lystra, where a lame man was healed. What’s important to note here is that he was healed because he had the faith to be healed. Specifically it says “He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.” The Gentiles who saw this believed they were in the presence of Zeus and Hermes, and started bringing sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas. Paul put that to rest by telling the crowd that they were mere humans who were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Finally, this led to the Jews coming to Lystra to stir up the crowd, ultimately leading to the stoning of Paul. Paul was dragged out of the city and left for dead, but in fact, he was still perfectly alive! And what did he do? He went back into the city. I can only imagine what the reaction was by the people who had seen him be stoned, but still walking back into the city like nothing happened.
I don’t know about you, but after all that Paul, Barnabas, and the apostles went through all that happened to them in these 72 verses, I’d probably get to a point where I would wave the white flag and find something less dangerous to do. And yet, the apostles kept doing what they were called to do. And because of their persistence, by the power of the Holy Spirit and the will of God, the Word of God still spreads to this day. Humanity can keep trying to push God away, but He will still always be here with us who believe.