Acts Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern
1. In Iconium the same thing happened — they went into the synagogue and spoke in such a way that a large number of both Jews and Greeks came to trust.
2. But the Jews who would not be persuaded stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
3. Therefore, Sha’ul and Bar-Nabba remained for a long time, speaking boldly about the Lord, who bore witness to the message about his love and kindness by enabling them to perform signs and miracles.
4. However, the people of the city were divided — some sided with the unbelieving Jews, others with the emissaries.
5. Eventually the unbelievers, both Jews and Gentiles, together with their leaders, made a move to mistreat the emissaries, even to stone them;
6. but they learned of it and escaped to Lystra and Derbe, towns in Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country,
7. where they continued proclaiming the Good News.
The same thing happened in Iconium as in Pisidian Antioch (see 13:46N); il became a pattern. Sha'ul and Ваг-Nabba preach in the synagogue, winning Jews and Gentiles to Yeshua. This brings about opposition from unbelieving Jews, who stir up the unbelieving Gentiles. So long as the challenge is nonviolent, Sha'ul and Ваг-Nabba stay on to meet it, and the Holy Spirit confirms the Word with signs following (v. 3, Mk 16:20). They show themselves brave (v. 3), prudent (vv. 5-6) and singleminded in spreading the Good News (v. 7); while the division among the people of the city proves good for the Gosrjel (v. 4, Yn 7:43N).
8. There was a man living in Lystra who could not use his feet — crippled from birth, he had never walked.
9. This man listened to Sha’ul speaking. Sha’ul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed,
10. said with a loud voice, “Stand up on your feet!” He jumped up and began to walk.
11. When the crowds saw what Sha’ul had done, they began to shout in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the form of men!”
12. They began calling Bar-Nabba “Zeus” and Sha’ul “Hermes,” since he did most of the talking;
13. and the priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates, intending to offer a sacrifice to them with the people.
14. When the emissaries Bar-Nabba and Sha’ul heard of it, they tore their clothes and ran into the crowd, shouting,
Tore their clothes. See Ml 26:65&N.
15. “Men! Why are you doing this? We’re just men, human like you! We are announcing Good News to you — turn from these worthless things to the living God who made heaven and earth and the sea and everything in them! (Psalm 146:6)
16. In times past, he allowed all peoples to walk in their own ways;
17. yet he did not leave himself without evidence of his nature; because he does good things, giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons, filling you with food and your hearts with happiness!”
18. Even saying this barely kept the crowds from sacrificing to them.
A new situation: how to preach to thoroughgoing pagans, Gentiles who are in no sense "God-fearers" (10:2&N)? They acknowledge the miracle of vv. 8-10 but attribute it neither to God, of whom they know nothing, nor to the Adversary, Satan, as did some P'rushim with Yeshua (Mt 12:24), but to false gods. Sha'ul's solution is (1) to identify God as the source of blessings they have experienced, (2) to point out that for this reason he is to be worshipped, and (3) to note the passing of the age in which the Gentiles were free to walk in their own ways (see Micah 4:5), implying that now they too must turn to God. Compare 17:22b-31&N.
19. Then some unbelieving Jews came from Antioch and Iconium. They won over the crowds, stoned Sha’ul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.
20. But as the talmidim gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day, he left with Bar-Nabba for Derbe.
It is not clear whether the unbelieving Jews (see 9-.22-23N) in fact stoned Sha'ul to death, so that he actually arose from the dead, or only thought he was dead — in which case there is still an implied miracle of healing, for someone apparently dead would not normally be in condition to walk back to town. Why did he go back? To prove that he could not be intimidated. The next day he did indeed leave, but on his own terms. Compare his similar behavior at 16:35-40.
21. After proclaiming the Good News in that city and making many people into talmidim, they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,
22. strengthening the talmidim, encouraging them to remain true to the faith, and reminding them that it is through many hardships that we must enter the Kingdom of God.
23. After appointing elders for them in every congregation, Sha’ul and Bar-Nabba, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord in whom they had put their trust.
Sha'ul's "follow-up work":
(1) strengthening the new disciples, spiritually;
(2) urging them to use that strength to hold fast to the faith;
(3) giving fair warning of what to expect — troubles but also the Kingdom of God (see Mt 3:2N), so that it's all worth it. Finally, he
(4) appointed elders (leaders; see 1 Ti 3:1-7&NN, 1 Ke 5:1-4&NN) to guide the young congregations; in order to do this he and Bar-Nabba retraced their steps.
24. Passing through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
25. After speaking the message in Perga, they came down to Attalia; and from there, they sailed back to Antioch,
26. the place where they had been handed over to the care of God for the work which they had now completed.
27. When they arrived, they gathered the Messianic community together and reported what God had done through them, that he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.
Luke carefully ties together the end of the journey with its beginning at 13:1-4. Note the model of order for responsible persons entrusted with tasks by a local congregation:
(1) they are prompt,
(2) they report to the congregation the details of what happened (in this case they also take on themselves the responsibility of assembling the congregation),
(3) they give God the glory for it, and
(4) they interpret the significance of what happened, emphasizing what is most important — in this case, that God... had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles — thus building understanding and therefore unity in pursuit of common goals.
28. And they stayed for some time there with the talmidim.
Bar-Nabba and Sha'ul spent a year in Antioch (11:26), left (11:30), returned (12:25), left again (13:4) and have now again returned. They leave for the Jerusalem Conference (15:2) and return together (15:22), but they leave Antioch separately (15:36-40). Sha'ul returns once more and spends time there (18:22-23). See also Ga 2:11&N.
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