“After the usual reading from the Book of Moses and the prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, come and give it.””
Paul and Barnabas, after leaving Cyprus, arrived in Antioch of Pisidia, for the next part of their missionary journey; to preach the Gospel to all people. On the Sabbath day, Paul and Barnabas went to the local synagogue to take part in the service and to hear the word of God. Incredibly, and very unorthodoxly, those in charge of the service asked Paul and Barnabas if they had any words of encouragement for the people. Paul, eagerly responded, and beginning from the call of Abraham, to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s promised Saviour of Israel and all mankind, he showed the people how salvation had come for all men to be saved, forgiven and declared righteous through Jesus Christ. “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in Him is declared right with God – something the law of Moses could never do” (v 38-39).
Friends, Paul’s message of encouragement, the words he chose to speak, is also an encouragement for us today: The truth, that our sins are forgiven and we are made right through Jesus’ Christ finished work on the cross. Paul, purposefully chose to show people that by doing, ‘the law’, we will never be righteous. It is only through what Jesus has done, ‘His death and resurrection’, that we are forgiven, made whole and made right before God. This is our encouragement. This is our hope. This is the reason we live. And this should be the message we share with others too.