Acts 13:13-41

Paul's Sermon at Antioch of Pisidia.

Click here to view a Map of Paul's first missionary journey.
Thanks to Craig Koester of Lutheran Seminary for permission.

13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.

[They came to Perga in Pamphylia] From Cyprus Paul and his associates sailed north toward what is now modern Turkey, landing at the port of Perga, a city situated on a navigable river about ten miles inland from the coast.

[John ... returned to Jerusalem] John Mark was a very young man who had grown up in Jerusalem and, perhaps in the spirit of adventure, had accompanied Paul and Barnabas from Jerusalem to Antioch of Syria and then continued on with them as they set out on their first missionary journey. By the time the group reached Perga John had travelled enough and decided to return home to Jerusalem. Acts 12:12, Acts 12:25.

14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

[Antioch in Pisidia] Continuing north from Perga the party arrived at Antioch, a major city in Pisidia. Antioch was a popular name for cities around the border of the Mediterranean. In this case, Christian missionaries from Antioch of Syria were visiting Antioch of Pisidia.

[Went into the synagogue on the sabbath day] Contrary to the condition today where Judaism and Christianity are looked upon as distinct and conflicting religions, Paul understood that Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of Jewish prophecy and is indeed the long awaited Messiah. Worship of Jesus Christ is the true mature state of the Jewish religion.
In every city, whenever possible, Paul and his companions made a point of visiting the local synagogue at the first opportunity. Examples:
Acts 14:1, Acts 17:1-3, Acts 17:10-11, Acts 17:16-17, Acts 18:1-4, Acts 18:19.

15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

[The rulers of the synagogue sent unto them] On this day the synagogue was pleased to welcome famous visitors from faraway Antioch of Syria.

Editor's note: Paul's sermon is best appreciated as a whole without the distractions of references or comments. Please use this link to view the sermon in clear text.
Acts 13:16-41.

16 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.

[Men of Israel, and ye that fear God,] There were in attendance that day both Jews (Men of Israel) and Gentiles (Ye that fear God.) Gentiles present ranged from those who were merely curious to those who had fully embraced Judaism (proselytes). Paul's mission was to address the information and misinformation which had spread throughout the Jewish world regarding Jesus of Nazareth.

17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.

a. Chose the nation Israel.
Genesis 12:1-5, Genesis 13:14-17, Genesis 17:18-21, Genesis 21:8-12, Genesis 26:1-5, Genesis 35:9-12, Deuteronomy 7:6.

b. Permitted the nation Israel to be incubated in Egypt.
Genesis 45:16-20, Genesis 46:2-5.

c. Permitted Israel to leave Egypt at the time of his choosing.
Exodus 3:20-22, Exodus 11:1-8, Numbers 33:3.

18 And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.

d. Tolerated Israel's adolescent behavior during forty years of maturation.
Exodus 16:35, Numbers 13:1-3, Numbers 13:25-31, Numbers 14:26-34.

19 And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.

[Chanaan] An alternate spelling of Canaan, used by the translators here and in Acts 7:11. No mysterious significance.

e. Instructed Israel to displace the nations of Caanan.
Deuteronomy 7:1-4.

f. Divided the land among the tribes of Israel.
Numbers 26:52-55, Numbers 33:50-54, Joshua 18:10, Joshua 23:4.

20 And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.

g. Established a government for Israel.
Upon arrival at the promised land Israel was a theocracy (Theos = God); ruled by God. The nation had priests and prophets to guide them but ultimately each person was individually responsible for compliance with God's law. This arrangement would have been extreemly beneficial for Israel had they posessed the moral character to persist. Deuteronomy 28:1-14.
For the remainder of the life of Joshua, Israel remained faithful and God blessed the nation as promised. Joshua, chapter 23.

Unfortunately, Israel found it difficult to be "different" from the nations around them and gradually adopted their idolatrous practices. By so doing they unwittingly gave up the blessed existence which could have been theirs and instead earned for themselves thousands of years of pain.
See Moses' warning in Deuteronomy 28 beginning with verse 14.

h. Patiently gave Israel a succession of human judges to help them maintain a state of faithfulness.
The judges were beneficial because Israel fell into a destructive cycle:

  • Israel would stray from God into idolatry;
  • God would bring punishment upon them, usually in the form of foreign oppressors;
  • Israel would cry out to God for deliverance;
  • God would raise up a hero from their midst to lead them in throwing off the oppressors.
  • That person would provide leadership during his/her lifetime.
  • Upon the death of the judge another cycle of departure, punishment, repentance and deliverance would ensue.
    Judges 2:7-19.

21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.

i. Granted Israel's wish for an earthly king.
Israel insisted that they wanted to be more like the other nations of the world -- governed by a human king. This was a direct repudiation of God.
1 Samuel, chapter eight.

j. Appointed Saul as the first king.
Although Israel had rejected God's will for them, God gave them a man who was outstanding by human standards to be their king.
1 Samuel 9:1-2, 1 Samuel 11:14-15.

[Saul the son of Cis] Same name as Kish of the Old Testament. The difference is that the Old Testament is translated from Hebrew to English while the New Testament is translated from Greek to English resulting in different spelling.

22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

k. Showed that Saul was spiritually inadequate to lead.
King Saul overstepped his authority and disqualified himself from the position in which God had placed him.
1 Samuel 13:1-14.

l. Raised up unto them David to be their king.
David was selected by God to be the next king while he was very young. God provided David with opportunity to spend time in Saul's court to learn by observation how a king goes about his business.
1 Samuel 16:1, 1 Samuel 16:13-19.

23 Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:

m. Promised that Messiah, the ultimate Savior, would be a descendant of King David.
This Savior is Jesus of Nazareth. See Prophecies regarding Jesus Christ.

24 When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
25 And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.

n. Sent a forerunner, John the Baptist, to identify Jesus as Messiah.
Isaiah 40:3-5, Malachi 3:1, Matthew 3:1-3, Matthew 11:9-10, John 1:19-23, John 1:29.

26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.
27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.
29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.

o. Sent his Son, Jesus, to be the Savior of the world.
Matthew 1:21.

The religious leadership in Jerusalem, who should have most readily received Jesus, instead rejected and crucified him. Mark 15:12-15.

When the crucifiers had finished their work, Jesus' followers took his dead body down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. End of story -- or so the religious leadership thought. Matthew 27:57-66.

30 But God raised him from the dead:
31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.

p. Did not alter his plan of salvation just because man disapproved.
Jesus' sacrificial death as the Lamb of God was part of the plan. Next came something even more remarkable. God resurrected Jesus. Many eyewitnesses saw Jesus alive and interacted with him after his resurrection.
Acts 1:3, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

Psalm 2:7, Psalm 16:10, Acts 2:22-36.

38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

q. Has sent us to you to present this message.
This man, Jesus of Nazareth, is the Messiah whom you await. Belief in him will bring you forgiveness of sins.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
John 3:16-17.

40 Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

r. Warns that many will not believe. Unfortunately, unbelief is spiritually fatal.
Paul was quoting Habakkuk1:5.

As John 3:16-17 offered salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, later verses in the same chapter warn of the consequences of unbelief.

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:18.

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
John 3:36.


This page updated 10/03/2010

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