When I visited Perga I tought of Paul’s visit to this city.
Following their stay in Paphos, Paul and his group embarked for Perga (Acts 13:13), a city near the coast of Asia Minor, in a northwesterly direction from Paphos.
Hnd 13:13 Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.
Here John Mark, doubtless discouraged at the hardships and difficulties, left them and returned to Jerusalem
A little later this departure caused a break in the relationship with Paul and Barnabas.
ANTIOCH OF PISIDIA
Paul and Barnabas continued on to Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:14), a city some 100 mi. (c. 160 km.) north of Perga, in the Taurus Mountains.
Acts 13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down.
When I visited the ancient site I relived the narrative of Paul my spiritual hero.
Invited to speak in the synagogue on the Sabbath, Paul preached of the resurrection of Christ (vs 15–41).
Acts 13:15 And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”
Hnd 13:16 Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen:
Hnd 13:17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He brought them out of it.
Hnd 13:18 Now for a time of about forty years He put up with their ways in the wilderness.
Hnd 13:19 And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment.
Hnd 13:20 “After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.
Hnd 13:21 And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Hnd 13:22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID THE SON OF JESSE, A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART, WHO WILL DO ALL MY WILL.’
Hnd 13:23 From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus—
Hnd 13:24 after John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
Hnd 13:25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.’
Hnd 13:26 “Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent.
Hnd 13:27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him.
Hnd 13:28 And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death.
Hnd 13:29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.
Hnd 13:30 But God raised Him from the dead.
Hnd 13:31 He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people.
Hnd 13:32 And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers.
Hnd 13:33 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’
Hnd 13:34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I WILL GIVE YOU THE SURE MERCIES OF DAVID.’
Hnd 13:35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm: ‘YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO SEE CORRUPTION.’
Hnd 13:36 “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption;
Hnd 13:37 but He whom God raised up saw no corruption.
Hnd 13:38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;
Hnd 13:39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Hnd 13:40 Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you:
Hnd 13:41 ‘BEHOLD, YOU DESPISERS, MARVEL AND PERISH! FOR I WORK A WORK IN YOUR DAYS, A WORK WHICH YOU WILL BY NO MEANS BELIEVE, THOUGH ONE WERE TO DECLARE IT TO YOU.’ “
The sermon made such an impression that he was invited to preach to the Gentiles the following Sabbath (v 42).
13:42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.
Hnd 13:42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.
Hnd 13:43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
On this occasion “almost the whole city” came to hear the gospel (v 44).
nd 13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.
What a highlight in Paul’s labour for God.
But then all hell broke loose!
This aroused the jealousy and opposition of the Jews (v 45);
nd 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul.
Thereupon Paul stated that, seeing the Jews spurned salvation, he would preach to the Gentiles (vs 46, 47).
Hnd 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.
Hnd 13:47 For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I HAVE SET YOU AS A LIGHT TO THE GENTILES, THAT YOU SHOULD BE FOR SALVATION TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.’ “
It is not known how long Paul and Barnabas labored in this region. In any case it was long enough for the whole area surrounding the city to learn of the gospel (Acts 13:49).
nd 13:48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
Hnd 13:49 And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region.
Their success finally aroused the active opposition of the Jews, who succeeded in persuading the magistrates to expel them from the city (v 50).
nd 13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.
Hnd 13:51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium.
Hnd 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.