The same thing occurred i.e. a repeat performance in Iconium. Paul and Barnabas proclaimed persuasively so that both Jews and Greeks became believers.
Believing crosses barriers (ethnic, social and otherwise) and brings differing sides together; but on any opposing side, those who have an axe to grind will always seek to undermine. This was what the unbelieving Jews did (v.2). The unconverted Gentiles really had no axe to grind. It was the Jews – unconverted ones who wanted to hold on to their traditional presentation of the message – tradition and message that they obviously misunderstood. They were the ones who felt threatened and felt a need to defend their erroneous stand.
This divisiveness made for hard work on the evangelists’ part. It took extra effort so that Paul and Barnabas had to lengthen their visit.
And, we read “The Lord, who testified to the word of his grace by granting signs and wonders let be done through them”(v3).
Let us note that it is God who performs signs and wonders. We can only be signs of God’s presence. When we allow God’s will to be done in and through us, something beyond us happens as The One in control shows (signs) what humans cannot. The truth shines through. God’s presence is realised.
I pray for myself, for all Christians generally, and for ministers in particular, that we may be willing signs of God’s presence that others may come to believe.
Fill Thou my life, O Lord my God,
In every part with praise,
That my whole being may proclaim
Thy being and Thy ways.
Horatius Bonar, 1808-89