Thoughts for the Day

Saturday, 6th May 2023: Different reactions to the Good News

Jesus Christ Paul Acts 13 Good News Barnabas Mission

Reading : Verses from Acts, Chapter 13

Paul's First Missionary Journey

The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul. Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, ‘It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles,
so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”’

When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the word of the Lord; and as many as had been destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread throughout the region. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region. So they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them, and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Research shows that news broadcasts can shape us - from our thinking about risks, to our dreams, and our chances of having a heart attack (Alison Holman, 2020, University of California). On 15 April 2013, as runners passed the finish line at the Boston Marathon, two bombs exploded. Three people were killed, one an eight-year-old boy, hundreds were injured and sixteen people lost limbs. There were months of graphic news footage, but a subsequent study showed that those present were not the only ones who suffered. Others had been even more badly shaken - those who had watched six or more hours a day of news coverage (via tv, phone etc) in the weeks afterwards. Research showed that constant access to such news can sneak into our subconscious and meddle with our lives.

Yesterday we looked at the way that Paul showed Jesus as the goal of all history in his sermon to those in Pisidian Antioch, and announced the Good News of the Resurrection. A week later this news had spread through the city and the people wanted to hear the good news of Jesus, even if the traditionalists were jealous!

But good news is rarely as interesting as bad news, for we are hard-wired to accept negative views, perhaps as an early survival mechanism. Indeed in 2014 a US reporter based in Russia, had a disastrous day when he decided to report exclusively good news for a day, and lost two-thirds of the paper's readers! However, in Paul's case something amazing happened - the Gentiles greeted the Good News of Jesus Christ with great joy and the word spread throughout the region.


let us not be caught up with tradition,
that we forget to examine good news.
May we never forget that You teach us,
each and every day, through Your word,
through the things we experience,
and through other people.
Teach us to examine new ideas
without being biased,
and to ask Your advice when unsure.

A prayer for King Charles and the Royal Family (from Scotland)

Almighty and everlasting God,
exalted above all nations and peoples,
today we seek your blessing upon Charles, our King.

Anoint him with the gifts of your Holy Spirit
as he seeks to fulfil his calling amongst us.
Strengthen him with wisdom and justice
to serve the people of this land
to the honour and glory of your name.

We ask you to bless Camilla, our Queen,
William, Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales,
and all the generations of the Royal Family.
Grant to them joy and peace on this day,
and inspire them by your Spirit in their work.

Ever living God,
you bring us together in our households,
our families, and our communities,
and you teach us to love one another as Christ has loved us.
In these days of celebration,
support us in the service of our neighbours,
and in pursuit of the common good of our nation.
May your will be done in us,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look at Pisidian Antioch today - its ruins and beautiful views in Turkey:

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