21 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
Verse 21 states Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch to strengthen the souls of the disciples and to encourage them. At first glance, this verse doesn’t seem that significant. However, in verse 19, we read how the Jews from Antioch and Iconium persuaded the crowd to successfully stone Paul, and yet Paul decided to return to these cities to strengthen and encourage the believers.
We might not have endured such kind of persecution, but how often are we willing to forgive those who have wronged us, or offended us? Let us learn from Paul’s example and with the help of the Holy Spirit to forgive those who have wronged us or offended us. Let the advancement of God’s kingdom always take precedence over our needs.
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Pray for these organizations who are helping people in need: Home Sweet Home, Renewal Center and Sonflowers.