Even though the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the area around Antioch, the Jews inflicted so much persecution on the teachers; they shook the dust from their feet. This was a warning of the wrath of God. They then left and traveled about seventy-five miles east to Iconium.
After reaching Iconium, Paul and Barnabas went to their synagogue and began preaching to the people. A great multitude of the Jews and Gentiles believed.
Once again, the unbelievers began contradicting Paul and Barnabas. The whole city was divided—some with the Jews and the others with the apostles. They stayed in Iconium longer than at the other places they visited.
When word reached Paul and Barnabas that they were about to be stoned, they escaped to Lystra a few miles south of Iconium and began preaching the gospel there.
On one of the occasions when Paul was speaking at Lystra, he observed a man, who had been cripple all of his life. This man was listening so intently that Paul said to him loudly, “Stand up straight on your feet!” When he leaped and walked, the people shouted and said, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”
The people called Barnabas Zeus and because he was the chief speaker, they called Paul Hermes. Even the priest of Zeus brought oxen and garlands to offer sacrifices to them.
The apostles refused to allow these people to worship them. They said, “We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God who made the heaven, the earth, the sea and all things that are in them.”
As Paul and Barnabas continued to protest to these heathen people, they described the workings of God more fully to them. Even then, they still tried to offer sacrifices to the apostles.
Jews from Antioch and Iconium came and soon Paul and Barnabas changed in the eyes of the people from gods to bad men. They stoned Paul and thinking that he was dead, they dragged his body, as a carcass outside the city. Having revived, he and Barnabas went into Derbe the next day.
After preaching in Derbe for a while and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas began to revisit the churches they had established and appointed elders in every church. They returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch encouraging the disciples to continue in the faith, even when persecuted.
When the apostles had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia and stopped in Perga. After preaching in Perga, they continued to Attalia and then bypassing Cyprus, they returned to Antioch of Syria about three or four years after they had begun their journey.
The church at Antioch was anxious to learn of the travels of Paul and Barnabas and they were anxious to make that report. Upon hearing how the door of faith had been opened to the Gentiles, this Gentile church then knew that all were indeed included in the gospel.
Paul and Barnabas then remained in Antioch with the disciples for several months.