In the thirteenth chapter of Acts we see that there were prophets and teachers fasting and worshiping the Lord and the Holy Spirit spoke to them to “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” When they were finished fasting and praying, they laid hands and sent them off. Many times there are people in ministry with us who are quite helpful and are an intricate part of that ministry. It is never easy when God calls them to another place. I pray that we can hear the call of God in our lives and that when those we love and minister with are called to another place, we can be supportive, loving, and can accept God’s will in their lives.
In verses 4-12 we see that Saul and Barnabas, along with John, their helper, traveled to Paphos, Here, they were asked by the proconsul to come and share the Word of God. He wanted to hear the Word. A local sorcerer opposed them and tried to convince the proconsul to turn from faith. Saul, was filled with the Holy Spirit and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?” He then tells the sorcerer he will be blind and unable to see the light of the sun. At that very moment, the sorcerer was blinded. Instead of this incident turning the proconsul from his faith, it strengthened his faith to the point of belief. He was amazed at the teaching of the Lord. I pray that we have a desire to hear the Word and invite others to converse and share in the Word with us. I pray that false teaching will not turn us from our faith. I pray that we will see the hand of God in the events around us, no matter how good or bad they may be. I pray that we are not perverting the ways of the Lord. I pray that we are not blinded from the Light of the Son! We also see in this section, for the first time, Saul is referred to as Paul.
In verses 13-41, Paul and Barnabas continue on to Pisidian Antioch. They visited the synagogue on the Sabbath and after the synagogue rulers had read from Scripture, they invited Paul and Barnabas to offer a word of encouragement to the people. Paul gave the entire history of the coming of Christ in this message of “encouragement”. He talked about the wandering in the desert, the covenant with Abraham, the choice of David as King, all for the sake of bringing forth the Promise of the Savior Jesus. He reminded them of how the message of salvation was for them all. The message was so encouraging that the people asked the to return on the following Sabbath. The next Sabbath brought a huge crowd. The whole city had gathered to hear the Word. The Jews saw this and became jealous and spoke against what Paul was saying, but Paul and Barnabas were bold in what they were saying and didn’t back down. They also let those Jewish leaders know that the Gentiles were offered the same Grace. The Gentiles were glad and honored the Word of the Lord and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. And the Word of the Lord spread through the whole region. The Jews continued to cause trouble and Paul and Barnabas left the area and were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. I pray that we can encourage others through sharing God’s Word. I pray that the Word of God draws us to hear more. I pray that we can be bold. I pray that we an plant a seed to bring those appointed for eternal life to believe. I pray we know when it is time to move on to a new place for the sake of God’s Kingdom. I pray that we can truly be filled with Joy and the Holy Spirit.