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Acts 12.25 - 13.13

posted 29 Apr 2014, 08:08 by Ben@theorderoftheblacksheep.com

Meanwhile, the time Barnabas and Saul spent in Jerusalem came to an end, and they reported back to Antioch, bringing along John, who was also called Mark.

After Barnabas and Saul help deliver the relief fund to Jerusalem (11:29–30), the three men return to Antioch. With this trip by Saul (who will shortly be renamed Paul) back to Antioch, Luke’s emphasis for the rest of the book shifts away from Peter and the church in Jerusalem to focus on Paul and his mission to spread the good news to Jews and outsiders throughout the northern Mediterranean area.

13 The church in Antioch had grown strong, with many prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (a dark man from Central Africa), Lucius (from Cyrene in North Africa), Manaen (a member of Herod’s governing council), and Saul. Once they were engaged in a time of worship and fasting when the Holy Spirit spoke to them, “Commission Barnabas and Saul to a project I have called them to accomplish.” They fasted and prayed some more, laid their hands on the two selected men, and sent them off on their new mission. Having received special commissioning by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul went to nearby Seleucia on the coast. Then they caught a ship to the island of Cyprus.

At the city of Salamis on the east side of Cyprus, they proclaimed the message of God in Jewish synagogues, assisted by John Mark. 6-7 They went westward from town to town, finally reaching Paphos on the western shore. There the proconsul named Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, summoned Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear their message. At his side was an occult spiritualist and Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus or Elymas (which means “magician”). Elymas argued with Barnabas and Saul, trying to keep Sergius Paulus from coming to faith.

Saul, who is also known as Paul, was suddenly full of the Holy Spirit. He stared directly into Elymas’s face.

Paul: 10 You’re a son of the devil. You’re an enemy of justice, you’re full of lies, and you steal opportunities from others. Why do you insist on confusing and twisting the clear, straight paths of the Lord? 11 Hear this, Elymas: the Lord’s hand is against you, and you will be as blind as a bat for a period of time, beginning right now!

At that instant, it was as if a mist came over Elymas and then total darkness. He stumbled around, groping for a hand so he could be led back home12 When Sergius Paulus saw this happen, he came to faith and was attracted to and amazed by the teaching about the Lord.

13 Paul and his entourage boarded a ship and set sail from Paphos. They traveled north to Perga in Pamphylia. John Mark, however, abandoned the mission and returned to Jerusalem.