They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.

Here we see part of what Jesus meant when He called Paul to be His messenger to the Gentiles. Remember? Jesus told Paul He would show him everything he would suffer for His name.

Paul, who had persecuted Christians, now suffers the ancient execution method of stoning. Then he is dragged outside of the city and left for dead!

Why was Paul stoned? Because he was successful!

Paul and Barnabas…spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.
Paul's success in winning new students for Jesus stirred opposition in the same way Jesus' success in teaching the people roused the jealousy and anger of those who opposed Him.

Surely, being stoned does not feel very much like success! Neither did Jesus’ death of the cross measure up to any of the usual standards of earthly achievement. Yet, we know the cross was the epitome of accomplishment!

Success in overcoming sin and providing a sacrifice that creates the possibility for God to forgive our sins. And more success when He rose from the dead! Opening the way for everyone who believes in Jesus to experience their own personal resurrection in the future!

There is another similarity between what happened to Paul and what happened to Jesus. At first the people were so receptive to Paul and Barnabas they actually wanted to worship them. This is reminiscent of how the people worshiped Jesus when He came into the city of Jerusalem, only to turn on Him with shouts of Crucify Him, Crucify Him!

Paul shows us that being a good student of Jesus isn’t a guarantee that we will receive all the blessings usually associated with success. But following in Jesus’ steps brings blessings that outweigh any losses. In this we are most successful!

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