“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Tit. 2:13-14)
From The High Standards of God for End-Times Christians
Some Jews in Antioch Pisidia did not accept Paul’s gospel message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ as Messiah, demonstrating what Simeon had accurately prophesied about the mixed reception a new covenant journey of faith, made accessible now through Christ to every new believer, would receive.
This is why Paul refers to the cross as an offense and a stumbling block unto the Jews (2 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Corinthians 1:23). Many Jews in the first century thought that all God had to do was repair their political/economic situation according to their understanding and expectations for the coming messiah, and then all would be well. They were already mistakenly self-righteous and saw no need for further spiritual reformation in their lives. They were spiritually blind to the coming of a more broadly accessible new covenant adventure of faith available to both Jews and Gentiles alike. Because their religious experience was limited to rituals and ceremonies only, and not a living and vibrant life of faith following God, they could not imagine a new covenant expanding to encompass the Gentile world, based upon the ancient prophecies surrounding Abraham the father of faith.
The direct and intimate participation of God in the events and circumstances of the lives of people of faith on a universal scale is made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth during His first advent as Messiah. This is what Paul and Barnabas preached in Antioch Pisidia.
God wants to give us a tailor-made adventure of faith, because in doing so He gives us a revelation of Himself. Unless God shakes up our world, in the unconventionally biblical way of injecting Himself into the course of our lives to match on some level the experiences of the people of faith recorded in the Bible, we cannot experience the power of God’s presence working through us. This salvation entrance through the cross of Christ leading into an unconventional adventure of faith, previewed long before in the life of Abraham, was just as desperately needed in an ongoing basis in the first century as it is still today in our own twenty-first century.