Thoughts for the Day

Tuesday, 9th May 2023: The ups and downs of the Christian life

Christian Paul Acts 14 Barnabas God

Reading : Verses from Acts, Chapter 14

Paul's First Missionary Journey

But Jews came there from Antioch and Iconium and won over the crowds. Then they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the city. The next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, then on to Iconium and Antioch. There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, ‘It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.’ And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.

Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had completed. When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. And they stayed there with the disciples for some time.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Paul and Barnabas had left Pisidian Antioch and gone a further 90 miles to Iconium. Once more they preached in the synagogue and had great success, but then the Jews stirred up a mob and they were forced to move on after being almost lynched. In Lystra after healing a man crippled from birth they were worshipped as gods by the crowds, but Jews come from Antioch and Iconium and persecution threatens once again. Paul is stoned and left for dead outside the city, and he and Barnabas are forced to flee to Derbe. The further they travel, although part of the Roman Empire, they are entering places where Roman rule hardly touches the surface. They are to spend from 1-3 years in the area, it is difficult to be explicit, between CE 45-50, establishing churches and creating elders as they go. On the return journey they visit each of these Galatian churches to strengthen them, and finally report back to the sponsoring church in Pisidian Antioch on their work among the Gentiles.

The courage of these two men and those who travel with them is immense, but there are two other important things to learn from their experiences:

  1. Christians must be a part of a fellowship. As John Wesley once said "No man ever went to heaven alone, he must either find friends or make them."
  2. Paul and Barnabas achieved what they did because of what God did through them. Like us, in times of joy or sorrow, in good times or bad, they are tools in the hand of God.


Lord God,
we are the hands that do Your work
in our world.
We are the tools that You use
to deliver Your message of love.
We are the voices that speak
Your word to those around us and
who look for hope and consolation.
May we learn to be effective,
courageous, and swift,
in all our work for You.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look at a cartoon-style video-overview of Paul's Missionary journeys:

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