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READING: Acts 13-14 – First Missionary Journey

Verse of the Day: “Set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)  

They went first to Cyprus, and “proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.” In Paphos they met a Jewish false prophet, Bar-Jesus, with Sergius Paulas, the proconsul and “an intelligent man, who summoned Barnabas and Saul to hear the word of the Lord.” The “prophet” contradicted them, to turn the proconsul from the faith. 

“Saul, called Paul, filled with the Spirit, said, ‘Son of the devil, full of deceit, will you stop making the straight paths of the Lord crooked?” Then he struck him blind for a time. This foe began groping to find someone to lead him. From this point forward, it was Paul and Barnabas, not Barnabas and Saul.  

They came to Antioch in Pisidia. In the synagogue, the rulers asked them, “If you have any word of exhortation for the people, give it.” Paul stood up and traced the story of Israel from Egypt, the wilderness, the occupation of Canaan, judges, Saul and David. Then said, “From this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as promised.” Before His coming, John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance. 

The rulers in Jerusalem did not accept Jesus and fulfilled the prophecies they had not understood. They had him killed, “but God raised Him from the dead.” We bring you the good news that what God promised to our ancestors has been fulfilled for us. As they were going out, people asked them to speak more about these things. Many Jews and devout Gentiles followed them as they urged them to continue in God’s grace. 

“The next Sabbath, almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.” The crowds provoked Jews to jealousy, and they contradicted the apostles, who declared they would now turn to the Gentiles, who were glad. But the Jews stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and drove them out of their area. They left, shaking the dust from their feet, and went to Iconium, where the same thing happened. 

From Iconium, after a long stay, they fled to Lystra and Derbe “and continued proclaiming the good news.” In Lystra, Paul saw a man, lame from birth, with faith to be healed. He said, “Stand upright on your feet;” the man sprang up.  

The people thought gods had come to them in human form; the priest of Zeus brought sacrifices to offer to them. They scarcely restrained them, insisting “We are mortals like yourselves; we bring you news you should turn from vain idols to the living God, who made heaven and earth.” 

Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, won over the crowds, and stoned Paul, leaving him for dead. The converts surrounded him, he got up, and the next day they went to Derby and “proclaimed the gospel to that city.” Then they backtracked, appointing elders in every city as they returned…  

…to Antioch in Syria where they related how God opened a door of faith for Gentiles… 

…a fruitful warmup for later journeys. 



Father, I know mission work is important, but is it always as chaotic as it seems to have been for Paul and Barnabas? Is this something that every person must be able to do? I know that you gave us gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. There are all teaching gifts – but James said for us not all be teachers. I can see how living a godly, devoted life is a good thing, and that such a life gives opportunities to say a word (or have a conversation). Help me to recognize those opportunities and use them for your glory, even though I am neither an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and have little ability to teach. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus, my Savior and Lord, who gave everything for me, AMEN!   

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for me)  

Father, I pray for all who may read these words, and for myself, that we may seek out the best ways of expanding Your kingdom. You lead us into opportunities that open doors for us. Give us steadfastness in prayer, and yes, even in fasting. Teach us to discern the opportunities you place before us. Help us to make disciples, not just church members. This is my prayer, in the name of Jesus, AMEN!  

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