Shake it Off – Acts 13:42 – 52
Background – this incident happened in a city called Antioch and a country we hear about today called Syria. This is a significant location.
Commercially and economically – it was called “Queen of the East” because of the beauty of its surroundings. It was a strategic location and caravans from all directions intersected at Antioch. It became large in scope and population. It was the capital of Syria from the Macedonian Greeks and when the Romans established it under the authority in 64BC.
The population was mixed between Gentiles and Jews.
Christians came to Antioch following the great persecution in Jerusalem following the martyrdom of Stephen. Think of the refugees today and perhaps a similar situation then. Excavations have uncovered over 20 churches.
Acts 11:19 -21
During this time, Paul and Barnabas made Antioch the focus of their ministry and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to many.
The Apostle Paul is famous for three missionary journeys. He passed through Antioch, Syria on each one.
Let’s track what happened in the church at Antioch in Acts 13.
13:1-3 – This marked the beginning of the first missionary journey.
11:15 – 41 – Perhaps, Paul’s typical sermon in the synagogues around Antioch.
13:42 – 43 – the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is changing hearts and minds within the city.
13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. Proclamation, throughout the New Testament church, came with demonstration. Just like it was with Jesus. And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. (5:12)
13:45 – the waves of opposition are increasing. This opposition from the Jews is not a new thing for the apostles. (5:17) Paul in his BC days known as Saul of Tarsus led the violent persecution of Christians, who were mostly ethnic Jews. (8:1) This led to the migration of Messianic Jews to cities like Antioch, Syria. Saul faced it firsthand at the onset of his ministry, and he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. (9:29)
13:46 – then Paul and Barnabas grew bold – the boldness that rose up was the Spirit of the living God living within them. He is the same Holy Spirit abiding within every born again believer today. The boldness was channeled for the sharing of their faith. Notice the opposition did not stifle their evangelism!
Fellowship with the Holy Spirit will bring boldness out in you! Paul was confident and the confidence came from the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit. He was living for the glory of God and the growth of His kingdom.
This boldness or confidence helped him to explain to the Jews there was a shift coming. Paul explains the shift with a prophetic word, I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth. When we know the Bible, the Holy Spirit can use it to guide us and then we live with a great confidence inspired by God’s Spirit.
Brother Paul Johanssen called it a proceeding word. God gives it and you can stand on it, proclaim and declare it with boldness. That is the rhema word that is a lamp that lights our path!
13:48 – 49 Signs followed the rhema word Paul had from the Lord. The people under their ministry were glad, glorified the word of the Lord . Praise the Lord, new names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. And the word(logos) of the Lord spread throughout all the region.
13:50 – double down the opposition – what will they do now?
13:51 – SHAKE IT OFF – shook the dust from their feet - wouldn’t have been possible to be discouraged or afraid? Were these men made of stuff that is impossible for us to attain to? Did their love for Christ grow cold? From the Scripture record did they dilute the Gospel message?
This is a direct reference to some words Jesus spoke, and whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that city, shake off the dust from your feet. (Matthew 10:14)
13:52 – Faith lays hold of wonderful intangibles at times when it would seem against the odds to keep your head above water. Amazingly, they are wonderfully contagious to those in your company. These buoyant intangibles are sourced through faith by the Holy Spirit.
Paul writes this about an unrelated incident; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds (2 Corinthians 7:4)
Our faith tells us when we feel disenfranchised, alienated, unpopular, even when tragedy and difficulty come our way – contagious joy rises up.
And not coincidentally, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. I submit they were filled, past tense to the stuff that just happened, they were filled is their present even though it is our past and they had every intention to stay filled with His Spirit!
The Holy Spirit is an artesian well of God’s joy living within the believer!
Do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation; but be (continuously) filled with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:19)
How does the Christian shake off opposition?