Act 14:21 “And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch”
The term “hero,” describes a broad spectrum of individuals. Heroes range from fictional to non-fictional. Real heroes to me are the ones who run in when our natural instinct says run away! When Paul finished his mission, he could have headed directly home. It would be only half the distance of retracing his danger-filled steps. He was rejected in Antioch, nearly killed in Iconium, and stoned in Lystra. Why would he go back!
Act 14:22 “strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Like Desmond Dawes, in the movie Hacksaw Ridge, Paul seems to say, “just one more.” Paul’s focus was not on the pain but the people. He saw souls whom Jesus had died for. Paul knew how hard it would be for these new believers to grow in such a hostile environment. Paul didn’t just preach love, he lived it. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Have you been rejected or hurt while trying to reach people with the Gospel? Are we avoiding those places for fear it will happen again? Family members, colleagues? May Paul’s courage inspire us to go back into the flames, clothed in the love of Christ, with the hope of the Gospel.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear. — Franklin D. Roosevelt