Acts 14: Sacrifices for God

They [Paul and Barnabas] warned them [the disciples in Galatia] that getting into God’s kingdom would mean going through considerable suffering. (14:22)

It sure will.  It seems everywhere Paul went on this trip he was either chased out of town or beaten half to death. In no time at all the crowd in Lystra goes from wanting to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas to wanting to kill them.  They went from being the object of sacrifice to the sacrifices themselves.  God’s mission necessitates sacrifice.

I am struck, though, how Paul and Barnabas go back through the cities where they are persons non gratis to reinforce the core message of the Kingdom to the new converts (14:21-23), and part of that core message is that disciples have to be ready to sacrifice.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer called this the “cost of discipleship,” not always something we hear a lot about in some Christian circles these days.  But how can we share with any credibility the story of a suffering Savior if we are not willing to suffer ourselves?

When was the last time you saw the Kingdom advance by suffering or sacrifice?

Categories: Acts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Acts 14: Sacrifices for God

  1. Reblogged this on Jaymorh's Blog.

  2. Melanie Semore

    I think we all experience plenty of trials and suffering, but (for me, at least), my sufferings are because of things I have brought on myself, not sufferings for the kingdom. In fact, I’m not sure I have ever suffered for the kingdom of God. My existence is pretty comfortable. I’m not shunned or marginalized for my faith. I have to wonder, then, if my faith is strong or even noticeable enough to affect others at all.

    • I certainly know what you are talking about. At the same time, I know firsthand that you sacrifice for the kingdom most days. Maybe not in the dramatic ways we see in these chapters, but then I don’t think most Christians are placed in situations where they could sacrifice like this. You know the specific sacrifices I am talking about. Many of us are immensely thankful for such sacrifices too.

  3. After reading about Apostle Paul, actually he not occurred in Acts, so who is Paul in Acts. Or pick a wrong reference.
    The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker.
    I think they preach at Greek continent who still believe in demi-god as Zeus and Hermes. I never thought that Zeus will be in NT. That why Zeus is very popular. No wonder.
    I see follower of Jesus have come to political journey where people start believe but cannot understand their meaning, may be because of past understanding of god i.e demi-god. Seem, the popular version is demi-god rather than god. I think Gentiles believe in Pagan religion or Greek God.
    I need to have ancient map of Jerusalem, I was hard for me to understand without understanding the geography and social life in those time.

    • I lost you on your first comment. The “Paul” in this passage is the same “Saul” we have been reading about.

      It seems to me your understanding of the Greco-Roman context is pretty good in general. Yes, when Christianity came to this new area (modern day Turkey, or ancient Galatia, part of the Greco-Roman empire) the Gentiles would have been pagan and would have been thinking god and demigod thoughts.

      There are millions of maps out there for the NT, and most Bibles have maps in the back of them. Check out this link for half decent maps:

  4. I found I was drawn today to the same verse I was drawn to three year’s ago: “Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times.”

    I needed to be reminded of that today. Very timely.

  5. Eddy

    I agree Jason. I appreciate the honesty of this statement. Too often we believe and teach otherwise and this is to the detriment of ourselves and our “students.”

  6. There is so much that goes unsaid in these short accounts. Verse 18, the people of Lystra have to be restrained from sacrificing to Paul and Barnabas. One verse later, 14:19, the Jews convince the people to stone them. What did the Jews say and do to cause such a strong counter-reaction?

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