Paul Preaches in Antioch in Pisidia – Acts 13

English: Ruins of the main street in Perga, ca...

English: Ruins of the main street in Perga, capital of Pamphylia, Asia Minor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verse 13 says that Paul and his companions left Pathos and sailed to Perga in Pamphylia. His companions included Barnabas and John Mark. The scripture here simply refers to him as John. He returned to Jerusalem, Luke writes; and this will be a matter for which Paul will later voice his disapproval when he and Barnabas separate in Acts 15:36-41.

After John Mark left, Paul and Barnabas went on to Antioch in Pisidia. The rulers of the synagogue there, sent a message to them, asking if they had any words of encouragement for the brethren there. Paul did have some. He came to preach in the synagogue, first giving a small historical summary of God’s plans for His people through the ages. He finished, of course, with Jesus as the promised Messiah, and detailed his rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection, citing scripture all the time.

The people were over-joyed with the gospel, and asked them to return on the next Sabbath. When they did, the entire city was practically present. BNut the rulers were not happy with the gospel Paul was preaching, and Paul let them have it, saying that they had “judged themselves unworthy of eternal life. He then further angered them by saying that he had been sent to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles:

I have made you a light for the Gentiles,

that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.

The Gentiles were filled with joy at the news, but verse 50 indicates the anger that the Jews felt at them:

But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.

Paul and Barnabas went on to Iconium filled with joy and with the “Holy Spirit.”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

Acts 12 – Peter Is Rescued

Verse one begins with “About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church.”  The words “about that time” obviously refer to a time period in which the events of the end of chapter 11 occurred.  Secular history accurately dates the death of this Herod (Herod Agrippa I – grandson of “Herod the Great”) in 44 A.D.  Verse 2 continues in the KJV with:

“And he killed James the brother of John with the sword…”

When Jesus was transfigured on a mountain. Moses and Elijah join him. Jesus had brought his closest 3 disciples with him – Peter, James and John –Matthew 17: 1-13; Mark 9: 1-13; Luke 9: 28-36.

Burton Coffman wrote concerning this verse: Only seven words in the Greek, translated by eleven in English, recount the martyrdom of the first apostle; and such restraint by the sacred historian shows how different are the words of inspiration from those of ordinary writers.

Indeed.  If one was simply writing a story rather than the word of God, one would certainly have more to say about the death of one of Jesus’ “inner circle,” James the son of Zebedee, than these few words.  The rest of the verse states that “…when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.”  The Jewish religious leaders – certainly much of the Sanhedrin – would have been pleased to have gotten rid of one the twelve men who were so instrumental in proclaiming that Jesus was the risen Lord.  This was during the Feast of Unleavened Bread; and Herod intended to bring Peter out after Passover and undoubtedly do the same with him as he had done with John’s brother.

But on the night before Herod was to bring him out, an angel of the Lord came to Peter as he slept between two soldiers, made the chains fall off of him, led him past two guards and compelled the iron gate to open on its own, as they walked through.  And with that, the angel left.  Up to this point, Peter had been thinking that he was having another vision.  But in verse 11, he realizes that the Lord had sent his angel to rescue him “from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

Although sixteen soldiers guarded Peter when he was thrown into prison, an angel came personally to rescue Peter (Acts 12).

Peter heads to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark (verse 12).  The consensus of scholars is that this may be because of the personal attachment Peter had for John Mark, who would write the gospel of Mark (of which writing there are convincing arguments that Peter stood behind).  At any rate, many of the church are gathered there.  At first, none of them believed the servant girl that it was Peter at the gate.  When they opened it, he cautioned them to be silent, then told them how he had been freed from prison.  As he left, he told them to tell James (this James would be the Lord’s brother) and the brothers what had happened.

The first Herod, called The Great, wanted to honor his patron, Augustus Caesar, with a fine harbor. He spent twelve years building a magnificent harbor and naming it Caesarea. Ruins of the Roman theater, built before the time of Jesus.

When it was discovered that Peter was gone, Herod had the sentries executed.  The he went to Caesarea, where verses 20-23 describe the events of his death, relating that an angel of the Lord struck him down and in the end “he was eaten by worms.”  Some suggest that both he and his grandfather died of Fournier’s gangrene, but the Scripture gives no other information that would verify this.  His vanity and acceptance of the praise proclaiming him to be a god led to his death.  Another purpose was served though, as he had already proved to be a dangerous enemy to the apostles.

Side note: In this article by Todd Bolen of BiblePlaces.com, the author makes some very convincing arguments for the actual location of Herod Agrippa, when he was struck down, to have been at the city amphitheater, rather than the theater itself (where the historian Josephus  wrote that it occurred).  He also makes some interesting observations about the ruler and his predecessor’s and the practice of the emperor being honored as a god.  Very interesting reading.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.