44 “The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” (Acts 13:44–47)
Following Paul and Barnabas’ ministry in the synagogue in Pisidia, Antioch, a full week passes. The two missionaries return to the synagogue the next Sabbath Day. Luke says that almost the entire city gathered to hear God’s Word. It must have been an exciting scene.
However, not everyone was pleased with the turnout. Today’s text says, “But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him” (Acts 13:45). However, this was all within the sovereign plan of almighty God.
The overwhelming response to the Gospel in Pisidia Antioch was a Gentile response. This aroused jealousy in the Jews. This response was God ordained. Romans 10:19 says, “But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”
The Apostle Paul quoted from Deuteronomy 32:21. It was always God’s plan to call Gentiles into salvation in order to provoke the Jews to jealousy. God did this so that the Jews, being envious, would ultimately be saved (Romans 11:11-14).
Paul’s direct response to the Jews in Pisidia Antioch was that the Gospel would always be presented first to the Jews. In light of their unbelieving response, Paul and Barnabas turned to the Gentiles. Paul reasoned that, “For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” The apostle quoted respectively from Isaiah 49:6 and 42:6.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes that, “Jewish opposition to the Gospel is a major theme in Acts, but many Jews believed as the Gospel spread from Jerusalem. Even opposition was in God’s plan. We must proclaim the Gospel clearly. If it encounters opposition, so be it for God has ordained each reaction to His message. Like Paul and Barnabas, be bold.”
Soli deo Gloria!