BARNABAS AND SAUL APPOINTED (1 – 5)
Chapter 13 marks a turning point in Acts. The first twelve chapters focus on Peter and the remaining chapters revolve around Paul.
* With Peter the emphasis is the Jewish church in Jerusalem and Judea; with Paul the focus is the spread of Gentile church through out the Roman world, which began at the church of Antioch.
* The prophets had significant roles in the Apostolic churches.
* They were the preachers of God’s Word and they were responsible in the early years of the church to instruct local congregation.
* On some occasions, they received new revelation, that was a practical nature, a function that ended with the cessation of the temporary sign gifts.
* Serving the leadership in the church is an of worship to God. It includes spiritual sacrifices to Him – prayer, oversight of the flock and preaching and teaching the Word.
* They had fasted and prayed too.
* It’s connected with vigilant and passing tell prayer.
* Fasting happens during that time due to loss of desire for food or a purposeful act of setting aside of eating to concentrate on spiritual aspects.
PREACHING IN CYPRUS (6 – 12)
* Paphos was the proven call capital on the western coast of the island in Cyprus.
* It’s there where the proconsul, a man named Sergio PaulUs, hears about Barnabas and Paul and sends for them.
* Sergius Paulus was the Roman proconsul or government administrator on Cyprus. He summoned Barnabas and Paul because he wanted to hear the Word of God. Sergius Paulus was an intelligent man.
* On the other hand Bar-Jesus, an attendant of Sergius Paulus was a sorcerer-magician. Bar-Jesus means son of Jesus or Joshua; however, Bar-Jesus was referred to as Elymas, which means a magician or wizard. Elymas falsely claimed to be a Jewish Prophet.
* Bar-Jesus opposed Barnabas and Paul and attempted to turn Sergius Paulus from faith in Jesus Christ as Savior of the world.
* Filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul looked directly at Bar-Jesus and called Bar-Jesus the child of the devil, enemy of everything that is right, and full of all kinds of deceit and trickery.
* Then, Paul asked Bar-Jesus, “Will you not stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?”
* What followed next was the first recorded miracle completed by Paul. Paul told Bar-Jesus that he would be blind and unable to see even the sun for a time.
* Immediately, mist and darkness came over Bar-Jesus. He groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.
* Hearing and seeing the apostles’ words and actions, Sergius Paulus was amazed at their teaching about Christ. He became a believer in Jesus Christ as God and Redeemer.
* It was appropriate attention-getter for some one who tries to blind others to the truth of God’s Word.
* Also Paul knew from his experience, the temporary blindness could lead to clear spiritual vision. (Acts 9: 1 – 19)
* The sorcerer too believed the doctrine of the Lord.
* The story of sorcerer was also a legitimised and a direct ministry to the Gentiles.
AT ANTIOCH IN PISIDIA (13 – 41)
* Antioch was the location of the first Gentile church.
Ref: The Antioch in Prisidia:- The popularity of the name was due to a ruler in 281 BC who had both father and the Son named Antiochus and founded sixteen cities named in honour of them.
* Paul and Barnabas went to Antioch.
* John returned to Jerusalem. The reason for leaving was not stated.
* John was young and might be homesick or fearful of the illness or other dangers of the travel.
* Or because of his strong ties to the Jerusalem church.
* Or might not entirely be comfortable with the attention being given to Gentiles.
* Verses 16 – 41 record Paul’s longest sermons to non-believers in Acts.
* The content is very similar to the previous messages presented by Peter (2 : 14 – 39) and Stephen (7: 5 – 53), providing a broad overview of Israel’s history and concluding that Jesus is the fulfilment of all that have been promised.
* Paul’s reference to 450 years likely includes the 400 years spent by the Israel; it’s in Egypt and 40 years in the wilderness. And about another decade spent conquering and settling in the promised land.
* Paul acknowledges the reverence the people hold for the king David and says that God raised up David as a King from a shepherd boy.
* Only God had raised Jesus to emphasis His victory over death and the grave.
* Paul’s closing statement regarding forgiveness, belief and justification are explained more fully in his letters to the Romans and the Galatians.
* His epistles to the Galatians was written to the people in that area – many of whom responded to that message in the synagogue.
BLESSING AND CONFLICT IN ANTIOCH (42 – 52)
* The initial response to Paul’s sermon was quite positive.
* Barnabas and Paul were invited to speak again the following week.
* In the meantime, numerous listeners sought them out to learn more.
* Paul and Barnabas boldly rebuked the Jewish lack of faith and stiff focus to the Gentiles.
* The Gentile believers were honoured to be included in God’s plan.
* But the Jewish resistance only increased as those who were jealous of solicit support from the prominent community members.
* As a result Paul and Barnabas were persecuted and forced to leave the area.
* This event was the key turning point in Acts.
* The Jews for the most part, rejected the Gospel, so Paul turned to the Gentiles, who responded positively.
* This pattern is repeated until it’s climax in Chapter 28.
THE KEY WORD
“Men and brotheren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.”
(Acts Chapter 13 : 27)
Lord, let’s have the holy fear of Your Word and that’s the beginning of our wisdom. When there is wisdom in our thoughts, God shows the purpose of our lives through His holy spirit. And the Holy Spirit leads us in the right path of our lives. When we walk in Your leading, we become Your disciples of Yours and let Your will alone be done with us. . Amen.
Glory be to God.