Acts 13: 13-31

Written by kathleen on Aug 02, 2015 in - No Comments

Acts 13:13-31

Sermon in the Synagouge

13 Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.

Now it’s “Paul and his company.” This means that, at this point Paul is now in the forefront.

The coastal areas of Pamphylia had a lot of marshes. Malaria fever was quite common. And it is quite possible that Paul came down with malaria fever because they didn’t stay in the coastal region but immediately headed for the highlands.

Visualize a map of the Middle East. Paul and Barnabas left Palestine, traveled to Cyprus, and headed north to Turkey. John Mark turned back and went home to Jerusalem. Perhaps when Paul took the lead position and Barnabas became second in command he didn’t like it… Can you hear John Mark saying, “Well, if he’s going to be in charge, I’m going home. I like you Barnabas you’re always so encouraging. But Paul is so hard core I’m not going to serve with him!

Psalm 75:7 says it is the Lord who sets up one and puts down another John Mark may have forgot this. Maybe we should be those who learn to say, Lord, righteous and true are Your judgments and decisions. You’re on the throne. You’re in control. Regardless of who is in charge or not! Then continue to travel with Lord and in the group to which you’ve been called.

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.  This was not the same Antioch from which Paul and Barnabas sailed. There were seven cities named Antioch in this region during this time. The Antioch in this verse was located northeast of Perga, the city in present-day Turkey from which John Mark left.

It was an area of good roads and much trade with a large Jewish population.

From Antioch, this is an inland trip from the shore and is a rough journey up into the highlands.

They had to go over several ranges of mountains to get there. It was one of the roughest roads of those days known for robbers and thieves- cf. 2Co 11:26 and yet Paul was anxious to get into the highlands, possibly because of malaria fever.

And in that plateau area which is about thirty five hundred feet above sea level, they went to the cities of that area which is now called Galatia.

Paul would later write the book of Galatians to the churches of Antioch, Lystra, Derbe, and Iconium, in this same area.

The letter of Galatians (4:13) was sent to them and Paul in his letter said, you remember when I came to you I had these infirmities.  I was sick.  So that is why it is believed that he perhaps, had malaria fever.  Some have theorized that that was actually the thorn in the flesh that Paul spoke about.

15 And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”

Paul always followed the same mode of operation. That is, upon arrival in a new city, he would head into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and share with the Jews who were studying there.

Paul always shared the gospel with the Jews before he shared with the Gentiles. In Romans 1:16, he said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” It was not a matter of preference, however. It was a matter of precedence.

The Jews had precedence for two reasons. First, they were a people who had preparation. For two thousand years, they had been given Old Testament prophecies, types, and stories—all pointing to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Therefore; converted Jews made radical Christians due to their thorough understanding of Old Testament Scripture.

Second, the Jews were a people who had a promise from the scriptures; knowing one would come to be a deliverer for them.

The temple service would begin with the reciting of the “Shema” (Duet.6:4); Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Prayers would be spoken, then a reading of the Law, (Gen–Deut.) followed by a reading of the prophets to illustrate the scripture that was read. The synagogue leader would then decide who would give the sermon.

Therefore seeing Paul and Barnabas who were well-educated, well-traveled, well-informed visitors, the rulers of the synagogue invited them to address the synagogue.

16 Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen:

This is the only recorded message of Paul in its fullness and is very similar to Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7. So he begins to preach to them starting out with their history and an emphasis on God’s covenant with Israel being a point of agreement. And he will continue to show how the gospel will fulfill that covenant!

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

Paul begins his sermon by reminding the Jews of their history—reminding them of their ancestors who were held captive in Egypt, baking bricks under the burning sun.

We don’t realize how many bricks the brick makers made!

Using only the bricks from the pyramids, sphinxes, and monuments that remain today, a person could build a wall ten feet thick and fifteen feet high that would stretch from California to New York. That’s a lot of bricks!

18 Now for a time of about forty years He KJV (“suffered their manners”) or put up with their ways in the wilderness.

To the Jew their history was very important because it was their heritage. So there was always that reminder that the nation was brought forth by God and that they were slaves in Egypt when God brought them out and delivered them, protected them, and brought them into the land that He had promised to their father Abraham

The phrase “suffered their manners” is a Hebrew idiom that can either mean “to feed” or “to put up with.” So which is it? When Scripture says God “suffered their manners,” was He putting up with the Israelites, or feeding them? Actually He was doing both as He hung in there with the children of Israel and provided for them for forty years. Just as he does for us!

LOOK AT THIS FROM A JEWISH MINDSET Paul being lead by the Holy Spirit sets them up to understand how Jesus is the messiah

19 And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment.

20 “After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.

Paul singles out Samuel because Samuel was preparatory to David; just as John the Baptist, was preparatory to the Son of David, Jesus Christ.

21 And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.

Israel wanted a king. They got one in Saul—a man who stood head and shoulders above the rest; a man who was initially humble and who moved in the power of the Spirit; a man who was able to bring security to the nation around him.

22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’

So as he moves along in their history. Coming from their being delivered out of Egypt through the forty years of wilderness wandering to the four hundred and fifty years of judges, to the forty years of the reign of Saul and now to David, whom God called a man after His own heart.

When we look at David’s life, we have to recognize that David was far from perfect, which shows us that you don’t have to be perfect to be a man/woman after God’s own heart!  David had his faults, weaknesses and failures to be sure but his heart was right in the sight of the Lord that is why he was called a man after God’s own heart. Not because of his sinless perfection, because he wasn’t, but because when he did sin and God spoke to him about his sin he was quick to repent of his sin

This is the kind of man or woman who is in harmony with the heart of God. And so God exalted David and blessed him. The same way He will for every person who seeks after His heart!


23 From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior; Jesus 24 after John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.’ 26 “Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent.

27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him.

28 And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death.

29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.                        

Paul’s preaching the gospel to these people is telling them that this promise that God made to David was fulfilled including the Messiah being put to death, suffering, despised, rejected according to the prophesy. All the way through He is showing that God’s plan was fulfilled in Jesus.   And these are all the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.

Paul is sharing with them the same thing he will say in 1 Corinthians 15:3, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

Why did the Jews demand of Pilate that Jesus be crusified? They stoned Stephen in Acts 7. They’ll stone Paul in Acts 14. Why didn’t they just stone Jesus? Because the prophecies of the Old Testament all pointed toward crucifixion.

The serpent on the pole in Numbers 21 is a picture of crucifixion The law that declared “Cursed is every one who hangs on a tree” As well as Deuteronomy 21:23 and Psalm 22 all portray crucifixion.

Therefore, by the pre-determined plan of God that the Jewish leaders didn’t understand, they appealed to a Roman named Pilate so that the Christ would die a Roman death—exactly as prophesied

And then Paul throws in the clincher

30 But God raised Him from the dead. 31 He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people.

Paul said, “Don’t take my word for it. For the space of about forty days, Jesus was appearing to His disciples. On different places and on different occasions, to different groups of them. And they became the witnesses of His resurrection.

Paul appealed to this reasoning when he said in 1 Corinthians “Five hundred men saw Him, talked to Him, and give witness that He rose from the dead.”

It is interesting that Paul’s contemporaries, who were trying to disprove the Resurrection, gave all sorts of explanations—ranging from mass hypnosis to mass delusion—in an attempt to disqualify the eyewitness accounts of those who saw the resurrected Jesus.

But none of the unbelieving historians of that day—said, “There are no eyewitnesses. Paul’s making that up.”

But to the contrary Josephus the Roman Historian states that there were eyewitnesses and was as irrefutable as the empty tomb.

Anyone who looks at the evidence historically and factor in the eyewitnesses the men who chose to die brutal and violent deaths rather than deny they had seen the resurrected Christ.

If I weren’t a believer simply because of what I know Jesus has done for me personally, I would be a believer because of the overwhelming proof intellectually. (Wednesday study)

This message that is being proclaimed to the ones in the synagogue here in chapter thirteen is the same message for us today whether we are Jew or gentile.

So what will be your response?

Have you asked Jesus Christ to be your Savior?

If so — Are you allowing Him to be a priority in your life?