“Never Giving up Is a Proper Response to Opposition/Rejection for the Gospel’s Sake 對為福音缘故的敵對/拒絶，一個適當的回應就是永不放棄“（Acts 使徒行傳 13:44-52）
… with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him. … ‘We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”’ When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honoured the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. But the Jewish leaders incited … stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
… 就滿心嫉妒，反駁保羅所講的，並且毀謗他們。…“神的道，先講給你們聽，是應該的。但因為你們棄絕這道，斷定自己不配得永生，所以我們現在就轉向外族人去了。因為主曾這樣吩咐我們說：‘我已立你作外族人的光，使你把救恩帶到地極去。’”外族人聽見了就歡喜，讚美主的道，凡指定得永生的都信了。於是主的道傳遍那地。但猶太人唆使 … 煽動大家迫害保羅和巴拿巴，把他們驅逐出境。兩人當眾跺掉腳上的塵土，往以哥念去了。門徒滿有喜樂，又被聖靈充滿。
Here, Luke used ‘the word of God/the Lord’ four times to emphasize that this was the primary power which attracted people. The dramatic response of the crowds gathered to hear God’s word made the leaders of the synagogue envious and oppose Paul. It was a privilege that the gospel should come to Jews first, a privilege they were now rejecting. The Gentiles responded to Paul’s invitation with enthusiastic belief, learning with joy that God does not hate Gentiles, but offered them salvation in Jesus. Jewish opposition was strong enough to force Paul and Barnabas to leave the area. Shaking the dust off their feet was a gesture of treating the city they visited as if it were a God-rejecting Gentile city. Being filled with joy that often contradicts circumstances and being filled with the Holy Spirit go together.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, the Word of Life, indeed it is your word and sacrificial love which attract people to come to you for salvation. Very often, rejection/opposition for the gospel’s sake makes us want to give up. Thank you for reminding us that it is a privilege for us to be the channel of your good news and blessing to others, a privilege we should not look lightly. We know we could not all be popular to the same degree as Paul. Rather, may we all serve and please you to the same degree in Jesus Christ. Amen.