Reception and rejection.
Paul and Barnabas begin their missionary journey with much success. They also encounter a lot of rejection. In the synagogues people are intrigued about the message of Jesus. As more and more turn to Jesus, there are those who defend the Jewish ways and want to silence Paul and Barnabas. In Antioch of Pisidia, they are forced out of the town. In Iconium there is an attempt to stone them. In Lystra, Paul is stoned and left for dead. But in each of these towns there are a number of people who receive the promise of salvation. What kept these two preachers going? They knew that suffering was going to be a part of their journey. Suffering did not surprise them, nor were they so discouraged that they turned back. Instead they preached with greater determination. In so many ways, we are not to be surprised when we are rejected, ridiculed, or ostracized. This is the promise that Jesus made to us. Instead we find that living for him is our joy. We remain faithful even when suffering is our companion.