Paul and his companions sailed from the Cyprus port of Paphos to Perga in southern Turkey. John left them there and returned to Jerusalem as they journeyed on to the city of Antioch in the region of Pisidia.
On the Sabbath they went into the synagogue and took their seats. After the reading from the scrolls of the books of Moses and the prophets, the leader of the meeting sent Paul and Barnabas a message, saying, “Brothers, do you have a word of encouragement to share with us? If so, please feel free to give it.”
Paul stood and motioned that he had something to say. He said, “Listen, all of you Jews and non-Jews who worship God. The God of Israel divinely chose our ancestors to be his people. While they were enslaved in Egypt, he made them great, both in numbers and in strength, until he unveiled his mighty power and led them out of bondage. For nearly forty years, he nourished them in the wilderness. He was the one who destroyed the seven nations inhabiting the land of Canaan and afterward gave the land to his people as their inheritance. This took about four hundred and fifty years.
“Then God raised up deliverers for the people until the time of the prophet Samuel. The people craved for a king, so God gave them one from the tribe of Benjamin: Saul, the son of Kish, who ruled for forty years. After removing him, God raised up David to be king, for God said of him, ‘I have found in David, son of Jesse, a man who always pursues my heart and will accomplish all that I have destined him to do.’
“From David’s lineage God brought Israel a Savior, just as he promised. So before Jesus appeared, John preached the message of a baptism of repentance to prepare all of Israel. As John was about to finish his mission, he said repeatedly, ‘If you think that I am the one to come, you’re mistaken. He will come after me, and I don’t even deserve to stoop down and untie his sandals!’
“Fellow Jews, Abraham’s descendants, and all those among you who worship and reverence God, this message of life has been sent for us all to hear. But the people of Jerusalem and their leaders didn’t realize who he was, nor did they understand the prophecies written of him. Yet they fulfilled those very prophecies, which they read week after week in their meetings, by condemning him to death. Even though they could come up with no legal grounds for the death sentence, they pleaded with Pilate to have him executed. And they did to him all that was prophesied they would do.
“Then they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead! And for many days afterward he appeared on numerous occasions to his disciples who knew him well and had followed him from Galilee to Jerusalem. Those disciples are now his witnesses, telling the people the truth about him.
“So here we are to share with you some wonderful news! The promise God made to our forefathers has now been fulfilled for us, their children. For God has raised Jesus from the dead, as it says in Psalms:
‘Today I reveal you as my Son, and I as your Father.’
“God had promised to not let him decay in the tomb or face destruction again, so God raised him from the dead. He gave this promise in the Psalms:
‘I will give to you what I gave to David:
Faithful mercies that you can trust.’
“He explains it further in another Psalm:
‘You will not allow your holy one
to experience bodily decay.’
“This cannot be a reference to David, for after he passionately served God’s desires for his generation, he died. He was buried with his ancestors and his body experienced decay. But the one whom God raised from the dead has never experienced corruption in any form.