TO CHEW ON: "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." Acts 13:52
Barnabas and Paul traveled to Perga and then to Psidian Antioch. When they preached in the church (synagogue), many people listened and believed. In fact at one meeting almost the whole town came out to listen.
But the Jewish leaders didn’t like Paul and Barnabas because they said the good news about Jesus was for non-Jews (Gentiles). When more and more people believed, the Jewish leaders got jealous. They gossiped and lied about Paul and Barnabas and turned the city’s important people against them. Soon persecution started again. Barnabas and Paul had to leave town.
1. They were afraid and stopped preaching.
2. They were angry and fought against those who made them leave.
3. They left, but were joyful because they had done all they could to tell people about Jesus.
How could the disciples be joyful even when they were hassled and chased out of town? It was because they knew they were doing the job God had given them to do. It wasn’t their job to make people like them, agree with them or believe what they said. Only God could do that. But it was their job to tell about Jesus. When they did that, they were joyful, even though their hearers were mean to them.
Still today we can have joy in the middle of persecution. Such joy isn’t based on outward success but the satisfaction of knowing we are obeying and pleasing God.
PRAYER: Dear God, help me to be joyful in persecution. Amen.
MORE: Joyful Times
• The Bible talks about people having joy at different times. Match each joyful occasion with its Bible reference. (Careful, there’s one that isn’t true! Which one is it?)
1. When they saw a star.
2. When Jesus came back to life
3. When being persecuted
4. Trusting Jesus is real, though we haven’t seen Him
5. When reaching our ambitions
6. When in God’s presence
7. When prayers are answered
8. When “eating” God’s Word
A. Psalm 16:11 B. 1 Peter 1:8 C. Matthew 2:7-10 D. Jeremiah 15:16 E. Acts 13:50-52 F. Matthew 28:8 G. John 16:24• The trip goes on. Mark Paul’s mission trip route to these cities on your map:
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.