The Word of This Salvation
Acts 13:23 From this man's seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior--Jesus-- 24 after John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, 'Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.' 26 Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. 27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. 28 And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. 29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. (NKJV)
The time is A. D. 45 and Paul’s First Missionary Journey has begun.Their first stop is the Island of Cyprus. Here Paul’s Jewish name of Saul is changed to his Gentile name of Paul as he prepares to begin his ministry to the Gentiles.
The group, including Barnabas, ministered on the island and then sailed northward and landed at the port city of Perga, in Asia Minor. From Perga the party travelled about 100 miles north to Antioch in the province of Pisidia.
As was their custom, Paul and his party attended the synagogue in Antioch on the Sabbath. After the reading of the scriptures, Paul and his party were recognized as visitors and were given the opportunity to speak. Paul took the lead and stood before the Jews and launched into a lengthy message detailing the history of the Jews concluding with the finishing work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This message was the first account of a message from Paul on his missionary journeys and was likely a pattern for all of his future preaching.
In this passage we pick up Paul’s sermon as he is making the transition from David to the Savior. Jesus was from the lineage of David, from his “seed” (v. 23a). God had made a “promise” (v. 23b) to David that his throne would be established forever (2 Samuel 7:12-16). The coming of Jesus, David’s seed, fulfilled this promise as His throne was established forever.
Paul then turns to Jesus’ earthly ministry. John the Baptist preceded the coming of Christ as His forerunner, making the way for His ministry (v. 24a). John the Baptist called for all Jews to repent of their sins in preparation to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior, their King (v. 24b).
Paul made it clear that John was not the promised Savior, in fact he was not even “worthy to loose” the sandals of Jesus (v. 25). “The word of this salvation” would be proclaimed to the Jews through the coming of their Savior (v. 26).
But the Jews in Jerusalem did not recognize Jesus as the promised Savior, and neither did their “rulers” (v. 27a). Even though the words of their “Prophets” were read in the synagogue “every Sabbath”, the Jews did not recognize Him as their Savior and instead they fulfilled the words of the Prophets themselves when they had Him crucified (v. 27b).
Even though Jesus was innocent of all charges they had him “put to death” at the hands of “Pilate” (v. 28). Then, after the Jews fulfilled the words of their Prophets, the body of Jesus was removed from the cross and placed in the tomb (v. 29).
By now the Jews in the synagogue must have regretted asking the visitors to speak. They were not accustomed to hearing Jesus presented in this way, as their Savior. He was only known to them as a blasphemer, one who had falsely claimed to be the king of the Jews.
It took great courage for Paul to go down this road. He was accusing the Jews of crucifying their own Savior, the promised One. He was possibly opening up himself, and his team, to the same fate that was dealt Jesus.
It always takes courage to share the Gospel with others, sometimes more than at other times. But, as Christ followers, we are called to do so. It is what we signed up for when we became Christians.
Online Bible Commentary