First Missionary Journey
The Holy Spirit selected Barnabas and Saul (Hebrew)/Paul (Gentile) to repeat their evangelistic model from Antioch (Syria; Acts 11.19-30) in other cities of His choosing (Acts 13.1-3; John 3.8). These men were servants carrying out the orders of their Master: go to certain cities and do certain things. The Master does not explain His rationale for selecting these cities. [Luke 10.1-12 also illustrates.] The cities, discussed below, are shown on the following map. A correction from Scripture is that Segment 8 was, actually, a return through Segments 7, 6, 5, & 4 (Acts 14.21-23). The Journey took 18 months.
(Google: Map of Paul’s First Missionary Journey)
Pay attention to what the Holy Spirit does to save the lost, mature the saved, and destroy the works of the devil, as Jesus described the Holy Spirit’s work (John 16.8-11). I will share some thoughts at the end.
Cyprus: Acts 13.4-12: Sergius Paulus was saved when he witnessed soccer Elymas blinded at Paul’s words; Paul and Barnabas preached Christ in the synagogues. Their message made Paulus curious; blinding Elymas convinced him that Jesus is powerful (1 Corinthians 4.20).
Antioch in Pisidia: Acts 13.14-50: They had traveled from Paphos, Cyprus to Perga, Pamphylia and arrived at Antioch, Pisidia. Notice Paul’s strong sermon (which he probably preached everywhere to Jews was like Stephen’s) in the Synagogue at Antioch. On the second Sabbath, the Jews resisted their message because of the larger crowd. They drove Paul and Barnabas out of Antioch. Shook off the dust of the city, as Jesus had instructed in Matthew 10.13-15. The Antioch believers continued to be nurtured by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13.52). The Holy Spirit led them to Iconium, Lycaonia (verse 51).
Iconium in Lycaonia: Acts 14.1-7: Paul repeats his sermon at Iconium and taught in the synagogues for “a long time”, because of the persistence of darkness. Many Jews and Gentiles accepted Jesus because of the attesting signs and wonders. But disrespecting Jews and Gentiles, stirred by some from Antioch, and their rulers tried to silence them, even to stone them. The Holy Spirit led them to Lystra, Lycaonia.
Lystra in Lycaonia: Acts 14.8-18: The Holy Spirit pointed out the paralytic’s faith to receive healing during Paul’s speech, to attest to the message and to attract the other people. Note how the message becomes tailored to the culture of the pagan people, as a starting point.
Death and life in Lystra: Acts 14.19-20: Note the persistence of Jews and Gentiles from Antioch and Iconium who stir up others in Lystra to complete their task of stoning Paul to death. But believers prayed, and God returned his physical life. Paul uses this experience for encouraging Timothy (2 Timothy 3.11) and for encouraging believers’ dependence upon God’s faithfulness to His promises. Note in 2 Corinthians 12.1-10 how Paul speaks of these occurrences in the third person, perhaps applying this blessing to every believer. He refers to the OT use of “thorns” to identify people (Joshua 23.12-13, Judges 2.3, Ezekiel 28.24). Paul makes his point in 2 Corinthians 12.9-10: the “grace” found within the Name ‘Jesus’ is sufficient for overcoming every assault by satan! Remember that Jesus gives believers authority over satan’s kingdom; Luke 10.17-19. After evidencing himself alive to those who had stoned him dead, Paul and Barnabas go to Derbe, Lycaonia.
Strengthening believers during the return trip: Acts 14.21-23: Paul and Barnabas return from Derbe to Lystra to Iconium to Antioch (Pisidia) evidencing Paul as alive and reminding the people that the Holy Spirit will equip us and carry us through to accomplish His task assigned. The Holy Spirit identifies leaders for each church location to mature the believers in Jesus.
Perga and Attalia in Pamphylia: Acts 14.24: They return through Pisidia and Pamphylia, preaching in Perga and Attalia before departing.
Return to Antioch in Syria: Acts 14.25-28: They returned to Antioch, Syria, after 18 months and report on the accomplishments of the Holy Spirit through them for “opening to the Gentiles the door of faith”. They stayed there a long time, probably resting and reflecting on and teaching about what they had learned.
satan’s agents in Antioch: Acts 15.1-4: explain some of their activities, debating with Jewish philosophers. This led to the First Jerusalem Council in about AD 50, which made a clean break with Judaism (on circumcision).
What did the Holy Spirit accomplish through Paul and Barnabas (John 16.8-11)? Sergius Paulus was the first of countless many who were saved; that is, brought “’from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me’” (Acts 26.18). Disciples began maturing in an orderly structure of discipleship (Acts 13.21-23). Lastly, satan’s agents were defeated in every city, from Elymas to the Jews and Gentiles who stoned Paul to death. All of these activities were important to the growth of Christianity.
What did the Holy Spirit accomplish for Paul and Barnabas? As John Mark’s Gospel states, Jesus was with them as they did their work (Mark 16.15-20). They experienced how the Holy Spirit spoke the appropriate salvation message in each culture, with the same theme He had spoken in Antiock, Pisidia (Matthew 10.19-20, Acts 13.16-41, 1 Peter 3.15). Paul, personally, developed a boldness that he expresses throughout his writings. For example, 2 Corinthians 2.14, 2 Corinthians 10.1-6, 2 Corinthians 12.9-10, Ephesians 6.10-18, and Philippians 4.13!
The Holy Spirit will do the same through and for you when you obey His voice and follow His commandments (Jeremiah 7.23)!
Be filled with Holy Spirit boldness!
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Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com.