and to be multiplied"
The word "but" ("de" in Greek) is a tiny little
word that carries the incredible weight of impossible odds.
Up till now,
Luke has told us about interrogations, jailing, beatings, and persecution at the hands of the religious leaders (Acts 4:3; 5:18, 41; 6:12; 8:1; 12:4), forced exile (Acts 8:4; 11:19), public executions of Jesus' followers (Acts 7:58-60; 12:1-2), church scandals (Acts 5:1-2), famine (Acts 11:28-29), and political opposition
"BUT the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied!" Since the founding of the modern State of Israel, there have been many attempts to keep Jewish people as far away from Jesus as possible - court rulings preventing Jewish believers from becoming citizens, anti-Missionary organizations, public smear campaigns, vandalism to churches, physical violence and harassment of believers...
BUT the gospel continues to make incredible
progress in Israel,
and the church is rapidly growing. Thirty years ago there were very few believers and barely any Messianic congregations. Today, we can find a congregation in practically every city! Whenever and wherever the church preaches the gospel (the word of the LORD), no matter what the challenges, church growth cannot be controlled, contained, or stopped by outside forces. No wonder Satan spends so much time trying to provoke us to argue about doctrines of secondary significance. BUT even then, Satan still fights a losing battle! "
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there without watering the earth
and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing
seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it"
"Then Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, 'Do not let the king sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine, and the LORD brought about a great deliverance for all Israel; you saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by putting David to death without a cause?'" (1 Sam 19:4-5). Given both the importance and prevalence of narrative analogies throughout the Hebrew Bible (i.e., later biblical stories written in order to be compared and contrasted with earlier biblical stories, earlier biblical stories intentionally foreshadowing later biblical stories), one begins to formulate a prophetic picture of the Messiah who is will be, just like his father, hated by Israel's leaders without a cause. And in so many ways, Jonathan's attempt to speak favorably about David to his father is like evangelism in Israel today. Jonathan is just like the remnant of Israeli believers who proclaim the good news about the Son of David with a religious leadership who have already formulated opinions rooted in gross inaccuracies and emotional prejudices. Let us not grow weary, however, in the blessed task of being modern-day Jonathans entrusted with this great responsibility to correct these many false perceptions about Jesus with the truth! "
He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you,
but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved"