Today, Paul and Barnabas find themselves in Pisidian Antioch (fantastic name for a place, that). An intriguing aspect of this morning’s reading is that they are very obviously well-known, and popular, being as they are recognised upon entering the synagogue on the Sabbath. What had the community leaders and rabbis heard about then? What was their expectation about what would transpire as a result of asking Paul to speak? Was he asked because he had been trained by Gamiliel in the Jewish faith, or because the tales of the miraculous and of their teaching had preceded them?
We’ll never know truly, but what is clear is that Paul, in intimacy with God, was ready to speak when invited, and spoke a message that was directly what they needed to hear that day. Paul was trained in speaking and arguing, but he was also learning quickly what it was to be intimate with God and loving in obedience. When invited to speak, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands, but it was God who did the mighty and wondrous work of salvation which followed.
It’s easy for us to be psyched out by the power and gravitas on show in stories like this, but we benefit from realising that, as God had raised up the people He called for His ministry in the New Testament, so He raises us up day by day to be His sons and daughters. We are to be ready to communicate the truth of the love of God when we have a chance, but most of all, we are to called to contentment in the arms of our Saviour, so that His reputation might precede us. Be content so that God might increase in your life today.