Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and after turning the minds of the people against Paul they stoned him and dragged him out of the city thinking he was dead. But while the disciples were gathered in a circle round him, Paul got up and walked back to the city. And the very next day he went out with Barnabas to Derbe, and when they had preached the Gospel to that city and made many disciples, they turned back to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch. They put fresh heart into the disciples there, urging them to stand firm in the faith, and reminding them that it is “through many tribulations that we must enter into the kingdom of God.” They appointed elders for them in each Church, and with prayer and fasting commended these men to the Lord in whom they had believed. They then crossed Pisidia and arrived in Pamphylia. They proclaimed their message in Perga and then went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch where they had first been commended to the grace of God for the task which they had now completed. When they arrived there they called the Church together and reported to them how greatly God had worked with them and how he had opened the door of faith for the Gentiles. And here at Antioch they spent a considerable time with the disciples.
Paul and Barnabas handpicked leaders in each church. After praying—their prayers intensified by fasting—they presented these new leaders to the Master to whom they had entrusted their lives. Working their way back through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia and preached in Perga. Finally, they made it to Attalia and caught a ship back to Antioch, where it had all started—launched by God’s grace and now safely home by God’s grace. A good piece of work.
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