Wednesday, September 12, 2018
“But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles” (Acts 14:4 KJV).
Have you ever heard the expression, “Doctrine divides?” Indeed, it does!
Chapters 13 and 14 of Acts are Paul and Barnabas on their first apostolic journey. As chapter 14 opens, they are still in Galatia (modern south-central Turkey): “ And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.  But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.  Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.”
During Paul’s Acts (provoking) ministry, it was customary for him to travel to and preach Jesus Christ in synagogues (Jewish worship centers scattered throughout the Roman Empire). Unbelieving Jews grew jealous that Jesus was constantly being endorsed as Messiah—since Israel’s leadership had, many years earlier, crucified Him as a fraud. These unsaved Jews, driven by sin and Satan, caused as much trouble as possible for Paul, his ministry companions, and their converts.
Read what occurred at the conclusion of Acts chapter 13: “ But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming….  And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.  But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.”
As we already saw at the beginning of chapter 14, Paul and Barnabas then move into the area of Iconium. When large crowds begin turning to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, unbelieving Jews launch a “mind-poisoning” campaign by exciting the pagan Gentiles to oppose these new Christians. As today’s Scripture recorded, there is a massive split in the city. Part of Iconium sides with those unsaved Jews, and the others side with Paul and Barnabas….