Acts 14:19-28 Reflection:
We are hearing today about the building of the Church and the growth of the numbers of people who believe in Jesus, but we are also hearing many things that apply to our own lives as well. We hear of Paul being stoned and left for dead; it is becoming obvious that rejection from the world is the lot of the Christian.
But what did Paul do after his seemingly miraculous healing? He went to the next town and began to preach there and we are told that in that place they made ‘a considerable number of disciples.’ In spite of the opposition, people were still coming to believe. “We all have to experience many hardships’” Paul said “before we enter the kingdom of God.”
Then we hear about the setting up of a Church structure where elders are appointed, and leaders are set in place. Finally they arrive back at Antioch and “On their arrival they assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the pagans. They stayed there with the disciples for some time.”
The Church is beginning to find its feet and its own identity. We can catch some glimpse of the break with the Jews and the establishment of a separate identity. But we are also told of the hardships that the Christian must suffer and the rejection that those who feel impelled to speak the truth will experience in this world.
It is the same today: speak the truth and you will be rejected, tell the people what they want to hear and you shall be loved. And what the people want to hear is secularism in all its forms, because secularism gives the illusion of power.
And we always fall for the illusion of power!