Running With Mark 35

Day Thirty-Five – February 1, 2020  

Read: Acts 14:1-14 New Revised Standard Version


Are you willing to risk being wrong about Jesus?  Can you be neutral about Jesus?


Check out this video about being willing to risk being wrong by Rachel Held Evans.  She was a gifted writer who wrote about her journey toward a more inclusive faith.  Held Evans carefully and thoughtfully dissected the faith she had learned as a child in order to arrive at faith that made sense as an adult.  Jesus continued to compel her and shape her life.  She died in 2019 at the age of 37.                    Recognizing the Story – Rachel Held Evans


This chapter is part of Paul’s first missionary journey.  Locate the towns of Iconium, Lystra and Derbe.  That’s where Acts 14 takes place.

Saul, who had been a persecutor of the followers of Jesus, had a powerful conversion experience while walking on the road to Damascus. Read Acts 9 to learn more.  Saul is now called Paul.  Because he had been such a zealous and violent persecutor of the Christians, most people were afraid of him.  It was hard for them to accept him as a new follower of Jesus.  They thought he was trying to trick them and arrest them.  Paul is known as an Apostle.  Apostle means “one who is sent”. 


Barnabas was a Levite.  Levites were the Jewish tribe that was responsible for the temple.   When Paul arrived in Jerusalem, after his conversion experience, Barnabas was one of the few or only people willing to reach out to Paul and welcome him.  Barnabas saw that Paul was no longer an enemy, but a fully devoted follower of God.  Barnabas was also a great mentor to the young man named Mark (John Mark).  Barnabas was one of the first believers to sell all his possession to help with spreading the gospel.  Barnabas, like Paul, is called an apostle.  Like Paul, he was not one of the original twelve disciples. 


Paul and Barnabas went into synagogues teaching about Jesus.  Both Jewish and Gentile people came to faith.  Acts 14 tells us that there were other Jewish people who did not believe Paul and Barnabas, and these people stirred up trouble.


Soon after this the mission changes, with Paul and Barnabas preaching primarily now to Gentiles.


Do you think it is possible to be neutral about Jesus?  Clearly the people of Iconium, Lystra and Derbe did not feel neutral.  Many believed and many did not.  It’s not unlike today.


It is rare to find someone who feels neutral about Jesus.


In 2015 the Barna Research asked, “What Do Americans Believe about Jesus?”.  Here is what they learned.

  • The vast majority of Americans believe Jesus was a real person
  • Younger generations are increasingly less likely to believe Jesus was God

“Millennials are the only generation among whom fewer than half believe Jesus was God (48%). About one-third of young adults (35%) say instead that Jesus was merely a religious or spiritual leader, while 17 percent aren’t sure what he was. In each older generation, the belief in Jesus as divine is more common—55 percent of Gen-Xers, 58 percent of Boomers and nearly two-thirds of Elders (62%) believe Jesus was God.”


  • Americans are divided on whether Jesus was sinless
  • Most Americans say they have made a commitment to Jesus Christ
  • People are conflicted between “Jesus” and “Good Deeds” as the way to Heaven[1]


If someone were to ask you today who Jesus was, what would you say?  How would you describe Jesus to someone who had never heard anything about him?  How would you describe him to a person of another culture? another faith? 

Why do you think people have such strong reactions to the person of Jesus?

Are you willing to risk being wrong about Jesus?




What a Beautiful Name by Ben Fielding and Brooke Ligertwood

What Child is This – Celtic Women


Prayer Focus:

What questions do you have about Jesus?  Bring them to God and talk about them.


Grace and peace,

Pastor Karen Bruins