The Cool Kids


Take a deep breath and think back on one of the most stressful and awkward times of your life: middle school. Do you remember the cool kids? Maybe you were one of them. Or maybe you weren’t. But everyone knew who they were, and I think we would all agree the cool kids set the social standards for the school. If one didn’t abide by these standards, then it was tough to move up in the class system. The funny thing is, the cool kids usually make up a tiny percentage of the school’s population, yet they are the standard bearers.

  • Have you ever been on the outside, looking in?


44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. How many people were gathered to hear Paul and Barnabas? How did the Jews react when they saw what was going on?
  2. What happened when the Gentiles heard the words, “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth”?
  3. How did the Jews stir up persecution against Paul and Barnabas?
  4. What was the significance of Paul and Barnabas’ words?
  5. Where do we, as the church, run the risk of excluding outsiders from the salvation that Jesus brings? Who do you need to invite into the salvation that Jesus offers?


Paul and Barnabas pointed out two specific things. The first was that Jews had rejected the Word of God, in turn counting themselves as unworthy of salvation (and also affirming that, even today, we have to make a decision to follow Jesus). The second thing was that Jesus came to save everyone, including the Gentiles. Jesus Christ threatened the hierarchy that the legalistic Jewish religious establishment had created. He shattered the idea of only one chosen race and proclaimed salvation for all people. And this is good news for us—Jesus came to bring God’s salvation to the ends of the earth, including to us!

  • Thank Jesus for saving you.
  • Pray for boldness like Paul and Barnabas the next time you feel persecuted because of your faith.
  • Ask God to reveal the people you need to share the good news of Jesus with, and ask him to help you to do so.