Paul’s Real Missionary Journey
19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.
20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.
21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,
22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia.
25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia,
26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled.
This route plays out like an Indiana Jones map and red line montage. Luke doesn’t give us many details about what happened on this leg of the trip, but slow down and count the cities they visited.
Don’t forget from yesterday, this whole trip started with them healing a guy and then condemning Zeus worship in Lystra! (I’m sure someone has already done it, but this whole trip sounds like a national tour of with a huge unreadable list on the back of a black T-Shirt.)
Barnabas and his group didn’t know what to expect when they went out. They went out of obedience and got plenty of encouragement and discouragement along the way. Commissioning, training, ordaining, and coaching, they planted churches in nine cities in this passage alone.
A lot of times we daydream when we think about sharing our faith, or praying publicly for someone. How do those daydreams go? Do you ever daydream that they got healed or saved and became an evangelist? Probably not.
My daydreams seem to consistently talk me out of boldness. I think of what I could say to someone, and then I imagine what they would say back, and I lose all of my mojo.
But what if we flipped that. What if we asked God about 9 cities that we could tour? What if we asked God about the people He dearly loves in
- Mt. Vernon
What if a modern-day entourage went to those towns and doubled the size of the churches in each place?
That’s a daydream, but it’s not ridiculous. It’s exactly what happened in this passage for today.
Let that fuel our prayers and increase our wonder and boldness at what God loves to do.