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. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
“Gospel” means “good news,” and that’s what Paul and Barnabas were preaching. The Savior has come and offers forgiveness for sin. He has brought salvation to the world. And here were some Gentiles, so curious about what they were saying, wondering at these things they’d never heard before, hearing about a Savior and light and life and the truth of God. And to their delight, Paul tells them it is for them, too, and they gladly accept this gift they can hardly believe is being offered. They see the wonder of it, the greatness of such a thing.
But the Jews, who should have equally rejoiced in their Messiah and the salvation He offers, reject it and do so harshly and adamantly from the hardest hearts. All within them opposes what these Gentiles are so glad to accept. But there was no exclusive group, no privileged few. The door has been opened for everyone to receive salvation from God and to gain eternal life. The good news of Jesus is for everyone, and all who believe can rejoice to know they are forgiven.
And just as there were prophecies that Jesus fulfilled from His birth all the way through His death and then His resurrection, there were prophecies that foretold Jesus was for Gentiles, too. It was already planned ahead of time. So these people who may have felt like outsiders suddenly became part of a very special family, and what an amazing thing it is when people realize that Jesus died for them and they are willing to believe and be saved.
May we all know truly in our hearts that we have been saved and our sins are forgiven and we know Christ as our Savior. Let us rejoice in the good news of salvation that has been offered to us. And may we let everyone know that salvation is a free gift for all, that Jesus can be their light in a dark world and free them from the bondage of sin. May we continue to spread the joyful news that Jesus lives and Jesus saves and anyone can know Him personally.