But God Raised Him Up – Acts 13:13-52: Reflection Guide
Antioch in Pisidia – This is not the same Antioch previously mentioned in Acts 11-12. Many towns in the ancient world were called Antioch and this one was located in Galatia, which is located in modern day Turkey.
The Law and the Prophets – The Law refers to the first 5 books of the OT and the Prophets refers to 21 prophetic books of the OT. It was common for Jews to read a selection from both during worship.
Shook off the dust – Jews would literally shake the dust off their feet when returning home from Gentile towns as part of their symbolic ritual cleansing. However, in verse 51, Paul and his companions shake dust off in response to Jewish opposition to the gospel, which is an inversion that made a strong point to their audience.
Did you know?
Luke mentions that John left Paul and his companions to return home. This is John Mark, the writer of the Gospel of Mark, and we see later in Acts 15:37-39 that Paul refuses to take John Mark on a future journey because he had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia (referring to what happened in v. 13).
Beginning in v. 13, Paul and his companions leave the island of Cyprus and travel to Perga, and then on to Pisidian Antioch. On a Sabbath, they enter a synagogue and when the synagogue leaders ask if anyone has a word of encouragement to share, a normal practice during worship, Paul stands up and begins to speak. Starting with a short recap of Israel’s history, Paul concludes that God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised (v. 23). He then explains how Israel rejected Jesus as Savior and uses the OT to show why this was a mistake. Paul cites Psalm 2:7,16:10 and Isaiah 55:3 to make the point that David was not the ultimate King the Psalms refer to because David died and is gone, and the Psalms promise a King who will not see corruption (v. 35). Paul is appealing to the resurrection of Jesus as evidence that Jesus is the Messiah foretold in the OT Scriptures. Paul then cites Habakkuk 1:5 as a warning that the prophets foretold that many would not believe in the work of God and as a final appeal for those in attendance to trust Jesus as Savior.
Next week, Paul and Barnabas return to the synagogue with almost the whole city gathered (v. 44), but they face significant opposition. This leads them to take their message to the Gentiles in Antioch, citing the OT once again to show that it was always God’s desire for Gentiles to receive salvation (v. 46-47, cited from Isaiah 49:6). When they share the gospel with the Gentiles, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord…and the word of the Lord (spread) throughout the whole region (v. 48-49). Before moving on, Luke reports that the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit (v. 52).
Read 1 Corinthians 15:26-27, 54-57, Hebrews 2:14-15, & 1 Peter 1:3-9. What is the significance of Jesus’ resurrection? In addition to dying for sin, why did Jesus also have to be raised? How does the resurrection of Jesus and the future resurrection for followers of Jesus encourage you?
Learning the Word
- Read Acts 13:13-52 and make 5-7 observations. What catches your attention? What is the main idea?
- What is the location (verse 14) and audience (verse 16, 26) for Paul’s message? How does Paul tailor his message for the spiritual background of this group of people?
Note: Recognizing your audience is important in sharing the gospel. For example, this message in Acts 13 is very different from Paul’s message in Acts 17 when he is speaking to philosophers in Athens.
- In verses 28-31, we see the key “facts” about the gospel of Jesus. How does this gospel message mirror what Paul later says in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11?
- In verses 38-39, what is the importance of the phrases “through this man” and “by him”? What does this say about how our salvation is accomplished?
Living the Word
- In verses 38-39, we see both the conditions and the benefits of our salvation. What is required of us? What is offered to us?
- What warnings are given to those who refuse this message of salvation?
- What is one implication of the resurrection that you want to hold onto as an encouragement for your life?