Acts 13:41-46
Acts 13:41 (KJB)
Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.
(Hab 1:5 KJV) Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. At the time Habakkuk had written these words, God was prophesying through him that He was going to bring the Chaldeans against Judah because of their disobedience. When the Babylonians came into Judah, they had destroyed the temple which Solomon built and Jerusalem itself. Habakkuk could not believe that God would use a heathen nation like Babylon to bring a judgment upon Judah since they thought they were the chosen people of God and that God would always protect them. Now Paul brings this warning up to date and the great work which God had done in that day was the sending of the Lord Jesus Christ to die for His children. Those who reject this work and desire to stay with the old ways will face Judgment Day and be cast into eternal damnation. Those who rejected the coming judgment in the time of Habakkuk, soon found out the reality of the prophecy. Those who reject the truth that Christ is the only way of salvation, will also face the reality of Judgment and Hell.
Acts 13:42 (KJB)
And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
The message had impacted many and those who were probably saved are the ones who had desired to hear more of this teaching. If you notice the Scripture is very clear in identifying the fact that it was the Gentiles and not the Jews who wanted to hear more of this message. The hearts of the Jews were still hardened to the message of salvation coming only through Christ and that is why they left without any encouragement for Paul to return and continue preaching. These Jews were the unsaved ones who still rejected the message of salvation.
Acts 13:43 (KJB)
Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
Followed - Cleave steadfastly to or accompany
Persuaded - Convinced
Once the congregation had fully dispersed, there were many Jews and Gentiles who had stayed with Paul and Barnabas. While they had stayed with them, Paul had an opportunity to speak to them and to encourage them that they should remain steadfast in the grace of God. Paul and Barnabas now had a little more time to speak with these believers and probably get into more detail. They must be careful that when they attend synagogue that they are not drawn back into the keeping of the law of Moses. This was the situation with the Galatian church and why Paul had to write the church the letter to the Galatians. This same problem was faced by the Jerusalem Church and that is why a Council was called for.
Acts 13:44 (KJB)
And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
The time that Paul and Barnabas had with the believers after the congregation broke up the previous week must have really stirred their hearts and probably spread the word. This may have been a crowd the size of what the Apostles had on Pentecost. Pisidian Antioch had a large contingency of Roman Colonists and was a center for Greek culture. So the crowd that attended Paulís teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ was made up of many different backgrounds. The Jews had settled here for about 200 years and it was almost a given that within that time frame that many Gentiles had joined the local Synagogue.
Acts 13:45 (KJB)
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
Just like the Pharisees and Sadducees who became jealous at the large crowds that Jesus drew, the same situation was happening to Paul. The unsaved Jews from the synagogue had shown up with the intent to disturb and destroy the meeting. Their envy was so great of Paul and Barnabas, that instead of proper questioning of their beliefs, they had resorted to contradicting everything Paul was teaching. Not only did they contradict the teachings of Paul, but they had blasphemed the Gospel of Grace. Just as the leaders in Jerusalem feared losing their positions and influence over the crowds to Jesus, these Jewish leaders were fearing losing their influence over the Gentiles and even their own from the synagogue. Paul had written about this type of situation in the book of Romans. (Rom 10:2-3 KJV) For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. {3} For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Acts 13:46 (KJB)
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
Put it from - Reject, repulse, repel, or throw away
Here was the dividing line for the ministry of the Apostle Paul. First, they did not back down to the opposition they encountered, instead they became much bolder in their speech. They explained that the Gospel was preached to the Jews first according to the Scriptures. (Rom 1:16 KJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Secondly, since they had belligerently rejected the truth of the Gospel of Grace which means they have rejected eternal life, Paul now turns to the Gentiles because he sees in them a desire and a fervor for the true Gospel. From now on the Apostle Paul will be known as the Apostle to the Gentiles. Now he will concern himself with the establishing of churches and the propagation of the Gospel. The Synagogues will remain in spiritual darkness and now the true Gospel will be preached in the churches and missionaries will be sent out from the churches. This is also an important principle. When people are hostile to the Gospel, God will allow His people to witness to them but if they continue to be hostile, then God will redirect His children to other tasks instead of dealing with these enemies. If they are the Elect, then in the future God will bring them the Gospel but if they are not, they will be allowed to go their way.