By Abby W.
Has someone ever acted ungrateful towards you? Have you ever done something kind for
someone only to have them throw it back in your face?
That's what happened to Paul and Barnabas. Directed by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the word of
God, the two traveled from the church at Antioch, to Cyprus, to Pisidian Antioch. On Cyprus,
Paul and Barnabus confronted a false profit, blinding him through the Holy Spirit and converting
many to Christianity. Once they reached Pisidian Antioch, the two were invited by the synagogue
rulers to encourage the people.
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul and Barnabus spoke the word of God to the people- both
Gentiles and Jews. Through the Grace of God, Paul and Barnabus were successful in spreading
the word of Jesus, too successful for the liking of some. Paul and Barnabus were invited back to
speak the next Sabbath. Multitudes of people came to hear the two speak, and some of the Jews
became jealous and spoke against Paul, Barnabus, and their message (God's word).
This was an extreme case of jealousy. Paul and Barnabus were speaking with the power of the
Holy Spirit, so by being jealous of Paul and Barnabus, the Jews were actually being jealous of
God. These people knew God too, they were his Chosen People, the people he had led out of
captivity in Egypt, through the desert, and sent his Son to die for. Paul and Barnabus had been
proclaiming God's word to them and teaching them about Jesus so that they might be saved, and
yet because of jealousy, the Jews were entirely unresponsive and ungrateful.
Paul and Barnabus did not back down. They knew that God had appointed them as his
messengers, and that there were those in the crowd willing to be saved. Paul and Barnabus spoke
boldly to the Jews, insisting that even though they were unwilling to accept God's mercy and
salvation, the Gentiles were willing to accept the truth, and many believed on the spot. Rather
than repenting for their vicious slander, however, the Jews insighted a riot against Paul and
Barnabus, expelling them from the city.
Paul and Baunabus were not dismayed, however. Acts 13:52 tells us that "the disciples were
filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."
What?!?! I cannot tell you the last time I was thrown out from anything for spreading the God's
word, let alone felt happy afterwards! Yet, that's exactly what happened to Paul and Barnabus,
and not only were they happy about it, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul and Barnabus
knew that God had a plan, and that what had happened was a part of his plan. They did not know
the plan, and they did not see how what had happened fit into his plan, but they had faith in God
and continued to witness for him.
The story of Paul and Barnabus is an important example for all of us. Each of us is called to
witness for God. Each of us will face naysayers, and we must speak boldly against them. Most of
all, we must have faith that our lives are a part of God's plan, and continue to live joyously for