5th Week of Easter : Tuesday 4th May 2021

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Lord Jesus, help me to persevere in the faith in the midst of hardships

5th Week of Easter : Tuesday 4th May 2021

Acts 14:19-28; Ps. 144:10-11,12-13,21;
Jn. 14:27-31 (Ps Wk I)

In the first reading, Paul is on his First Missionary Journey around 46-48 AD. In Acts 14:10, Paul had healed a man who had been crippled from birth. In response, the crowds shouted, “The gods have come down to us in human form” (v 11). Paul quickly shared “the good news” with them (v 15), and Barnabas “just managed to prevent the crowd from offering them sacrifice” (v 18).

Interestingly, just one verse later, because of the influence of some Jews from Antioch and Iconium, “the people turned against the apostles”… “stoned Paul and dragged him outside the town, thinking he was dead” (v 19).

The wonder of God in Paul’s life and his courage can be seen in that when the disciples surrounded him, “he stood up and went back to town” (v 20).  And the next day, they went to Derbe and “preached the Good News” (21). Then, together with Barnabas, “they went back to Lystra” (where Paul had been stoned) and went to Iconium and Antioch.

Without lamenting his stoning and rejection they had experienced, “they put fresh heart into the disciples, …encouraging them to persevere in the faith” and telling them that “we all have to experience many hardships … before we enter the kingdom of God” (v 22).

What was most rewarding for Paul and Barnabas? It was probably the appointment of Elders in the churches they had established (v 23).

Lord, help us to learn from Paul and Barnabas never to be overtaken by human admiration or be discouraged by the people’s rejection, but to remain faithful in serving God.

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