Acts 14:19-20 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
Okay, I know what you are thinking. Paul got stoned? Yes, but not like that. He wasn’t out getting high and advocating for legalized marijuana. He literally got stoned. Like… with stones. Do you know what stoning was? It was when people threw rocks at you until you died. They probably tied you to a pole or a wall or something and starting hucking big rocks in your general direction. They rocks would cause enough external and internal injuries that a person would die. This was a slow and torturous way to go. It involved constant pain and agony. And Paul got stoned.
He got stoned because he was preaching the gospel. He was bringing the hope of Jesus Christ to them and it made them mad. He messed with their view of God and religion and they didn’t want to listen. They didn’t want their lives messed with. So they tried to kill him. I don’t know about you, but if someone were to try and kill me, I’d probably decide that they aren’t going to receive what I am trying to deliver. If they are trying to kill me, it’s probably best to move on to someone who doesn’t. I want to help people who want help. I want to preach to people who want to hear. I want to go where I am accepted and welcomed, not rejected and stoned.
But Paul got up and went back. He went back! Are you kidding me? He went back! These people didn’t want to hear it; they wanted him dead. Yet he knew that regardless of their response, they needed to hear the truth. Regardless of the abuse he took – and it was alot – they needed to be rescued. Impending death didn’t shake him because his mind was set on eternity. And because his mind was set on eternity, he was desperate to change theirs.
I wonder if I would be willing to go back into the city? I wonder if the danger would be worth it? I would have to have God’s heart and perspective. I would have to see God’s undying and relentless love for a people who are pushing Him away. I would have to see my life as belonging to Him, for His cause and not my own. It’s only then that I would be willing to live the uncomfortable. It’s only then that I might just take a chance on reaching those who reject both Him and me. But isn’t that who needs to hear it the most?
*What places is God calling you to that you’d prefer not to go?