After the warning of vv.40-41 we now read of how the people responded:
“As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people were urging them to speak about these things on the next Sabbath. When the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking with them and were persuading them to continue in the grace of God.
On the next Sabbath almost the whole city assembled together to hear the word of the Lord”.
(Acts 13.42-44, NET)
We see that the Gospel sermon hit home (Isaiah 55.11) and the people were urging them to speak about these things on the next Sabbath. Many followed Paul and Barnabas out of the synagogue and in return were encouraged to continue in the grace of God. Faith had begun, believing had begun, but the grace by which they came to believe would never end.
Then, on the next Sabbath almost the whole city assembled together to hear the word of the Lord. There is something unavoidably magnetic about the word of the Lord. There is a living, active, powerful quality to God’s Word being spoken to God’s people for God’s glory.
Maybe we don’t understand why the whole city assembled, but that has more to do with our lives than it does their response. We are overloaded with information today; tv, internet, phone, social media, friends and family all over the world, we could go on.
Think back 2000 years and imagine the buzz about town when someone new arrives with news that would change your life, both now and after death.
Imagine the excitement when someone arrives and tells you that you can categorically be forgiven of the wrong you have done.
There was no option for the average person on the street to pull their phone out and search for ‘How can I be forgiven?’ or any of life’s biggest questions.
We would do well today to appreciate the gravity of the Good News of Jesus afresh. It might be something we casually talk about or reference multiple times a day, but here in Acts we see that it literally had the whole city assembled to hear it.
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