Acts 13:14-52 – Paul Preaches at the Synagogue in Pisidian Antioch
SummaryPaul is invited to speak when he and his companions attend a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. His speech, which cites Scripture to support Christian conviction that Jesus is God's Messiah, creates much excitement and interest but also division in the community.
AnalysisIn Acts 13:9 Saul becomes known as Paul and assumes his role as a leader and evangelist for Jesus Christ. In Antioch of Pisidia he and his companions go to a synagogue and are invited to address the local worshipers. Paul delivers a speech that is a brief general review of the history of God with God's people. His speech is brilliantly designed for the context of its delivery. He identifies the people in the synagogue as God's people, designated to receive God's promises. He identifies Jesus as the descendent of David and the one who would receive "the holy promises made to David" (v. 34).
Paul's speech is a great success, emphasizing the continuity of God's promises and the reliability of Scripture. In fact, the success of the speech is the undoing of continued mission activity. So many respond, Jews and devout Gentiles, that some other Jews become jealous and collude with local leaders to drive Paul and Barnabas away. In v. 47, Paul and Barnabas quote from Isaiah 49:6, words also said by Simeon in Luke 2:32. Paul and Barnabas speak these words, concerning the call of the Jews to be a "light for the Gentiles," and apply them directly to themselves. They insist that they will go henceforth to the Gentiles, although this is not the way Acts works out. This passage, however, sets the stage dramatically for the success of the mission to Gentiles.