Cam checking out a guy leaning on a musket.
Sunday, 29 January 2023
And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region. Acts 13:49
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
By citing Isaiah, Paul and Barnabas have noted that the message of Christ was to be a light to the Gentiles, leading to salvation to the ends of the earth. In their stating this, the Gentiles of Antioch of Pisidia “were glad and glorified the word of the Lord.” From there, it noted that those who believed were appointed to eternal life. Now it says, “And the word of the Lord.”
This certainly has the full meaning of “The Lord God of Israel who has come in the person of Jesus Christ.” In other words, it was the “word of the Lord” through Isaiah that made the Gentiles rejoice. And it was the word concerning the Lord Jesus, as the fulfillment of the words of Isaiah, that brought them to salvation. Hence, “the word of the Lord” is the full message of the God of Israel.
If one of the people listening said, “Why do we need to be saved?” Paul or Barnabas could tell them about the fall of man in Genesis. If one of them in the audience said, “But all paths lead to God,” one of the apostles could speak about the exclusivity of salvation because it is the work of God and not of man. As this is so, then God – who is not fickle – would not accept any other path than that designated by Him.
The word of the Lord from the Hebrew Scriptures would provide the baseline for understanding what the situation of man was and what God was doing about correcting it. The word of the Lord concerning Jesus would explain what God had brought about in fulfillment of that plan. With this in mind, it next says that this word of the Lord “was being spread.”
The word used here, diapheró, signifies “to carry through.” For example, when the head of John the Baptist was brought before Herod, the word pheró was used. It was carried to him. The prefix dia signifies “through.” This is what happened in Acts 5. The early persecution of the church did not dissuade the gospel’s proclamation. Rather, it enhanced it. The apostles dug in and continued to proclaim the word. In Acts 5:16, it says –
“Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”
This also happened after the death of Stephen, the persecution at that time only increased the spread of the gospel –
“At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” Acts 8:1
As the leaders of Israel persecuted the early church, it spread. Now with the opposition to the message of Paul and Barnabas by the Jews in Antioch, the gospel has continued to spread in a great new way, going forth to the Gentiles. These men carried the word through each area they went which was “throughout all the region.”
Of this, Charles Ellicott notes, “This clearly involves a considerable period of active working. It was not in Antioch only, but in the “region” round about, the border district of the three provinces of Phrygia, Lycaonia, and Galatia, that the new faith was planted.”
Life application: Just when people think they have their fingers pressed upon God’s people and His word, they find that their actions have increased the spread of the gospel. If people are willing to be chased from their homes for being Christians, they will continue to be Christians where they are chased to. When they get where they are going, they will be more, not less, willing to share their faith.
This has been proven true throughout history. For those who truly believe the word, there will only be an increased passion to share their message when asked who they are and what brought them to where they are. It is true that this happens with false religions and false sects of Christianity as well, but this is something that must come about because of the fallen state of the world.
Mormonism flourished in the US because of the religious protections provided for those who practiced it. This is also true with numerous other aberrant cults that arose around the same time. But the true message of the gospel also was allowed to expand as well. People have choices to make, and they are responsible for what they believe. The onus is on man to think through what is presented, to accept what is right, and to be saved in believing what is true.
The very nature of how the gospel is communicated calls out for man’s response – “Believe and be saved. But be careful what you believe.” There is one message of salvation that is found in the one gospel message.
Lord God, just when the world thinks it has stopped the message of Jesus from going any further, it finds out that it has not only gone further, but it has flourished. Your word has stood the test of time, and it has spread to the uttermost part of the earth. It is so wonderful to be a part of Your glorious plan of the ages. Thank You for Jesus who has made this possible! Amen.