Read Acts 13
Focus on verse 44-45
In the build up to the recent presidential election, I made an observation that the media seemed to be doing their best to cover up. Both of the main candidates would hold rallies in order to present their party’s platform and to make known their agenda for the next four years should they be elected. One candidate consistently drew crowds large enough to fill stadiums, often having to turn people away. The other seemed to struggle at times to draw enough people for the media to make it look like there was a crowd. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the candidate drawing the larger crowds is likely the more popular candidate. The conclusion I drew from this was that despite what the polls were predicting to be the outcome of the election, the more popular candidate would win. As the results of the election came in on the evening of the election my suspicion was verified as the nation chose to elect Donald Trump as the next president of the USA.
In today’s reading Luke records the first missionary journey of the Apostle Paul as he traveled with Barnabas. When Paul began to preach to the people in the synagogue in Antioch, the people were drawn to his message and begged him to come back the next week. When he did a very large crowd had gathered causing the local rabbis to become a little jealous.
The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. (v. 44-45)
Apparently the old guard of leaders are rarely happy to see a new leader become more popular then themselves. There is the odd occasion where the old guard welcomes the new leadership making the transition easier. John the Baptist would be one such example. When his disciples questioned him about Jesus popularity, John assured them that “he must increase and I must decrease”. John knew that his role was merely the fore-runner to Jesus, and he fulfilled the role with purpose and grace.
It is always unfortunate when a leader is unwilling to accept when their time is up. It is always better for everyone involved and for all the people who are affected by the leader when the leader is willing to transition power to the next leader with grace and humility. To attempt to resist the transition typically just makes it harder for everyone involved.