Paul was perhaps the most successful missionary who ever lived. Here, in what is today the country of Turkey, we observe him in action and learn how he led people to become students of Jesus.
First, he goes to the synagogue on the Sabbath Day. He knows he will find a ready audience of people who are acquainted with the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Savior. And who have a sincere desire to please God.
Next, we observe how – as a total stranger - he establishes rapport and trust with the people by accurately recounting the history of Israel which is well-known to them all.
Paul begins with the time of Israel’s slavery under the pharaohs in Egypt through to the time when God leads them to the Land of Canaan.
He mentions the time of judges which lasted until the prophet Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of Israel. And finally comes to King David, about whom he says - From this man's descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.
Jesus is the Messiah long-anticipated by the people of Israel! But Paul also includes Gentiles - Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.
Paul’s sermon reaches its climax when he shares the Good News of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath….they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead…
As we shall see, Paul’s sermon will continue with references to Old Testament prophecies that prove Jesus is who he claims to be. The Son of God and the promised Savior of the world!