In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers. Among them were Barnabas, Simeon, and Lucius from Cyrene. Simeon was also called Niger. Another was Manaen. He had been brought up with Herod, the ruler of Galilee. Saul was among them too.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke. "Set apart Barnabas and Saul for me," he said. "I have appointed them to do special work."
The prophets and teachers fasted and prayed. They placed their hands on Barnabas and Saul. Then they sent them off.
Barnabas and Saul were sent on their way by the Holy Spirit. They went down to Seleucia. From there they sailed to Cyprus.
They arrived at Salamis. There they preached God's word in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
They traveled all across the island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jew named Bar-Jesus. He was an evil magician and a false prophet.
He was an attendant of Sergius Paulus, the governor. Paulus was a man of understanding. He sent for Barnabas and Saul. He wanted to hear God's word.
But Elymas, the evil magician, opposed them. The name Elymas means "magician." He tried to keep the governor from becoming a believer.
Saul was also known as Paul. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. He looked straight at Elymas. He said to him,
"You are a child of the devil! You are an enemy of everything that is right! You cheat people. You use all kinds of tricks. Won't you ever stop twisting the right ways of the Lord?
Now the Lord's hand is against you. You are going to go blind. You won't be able to see the light of the sun for a while." Right away mist and darkness came over him. He tried to feel his way around. He wanted to find someone to lead him by the hand.
When the governor saw what had happened, he believed. He was amazed at what Paul was teaching about the Lord.
From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia. There John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath day they entered the synagogue and sat down.
The Law and the Prophets were read aloud. Then the synagogue rulers sent word to Paul and his companions. They said, "Brothers, do you have a message of hope for the people? If you do, please speak."
Paul stood up and motioned with his hand. Then he said, "Men of Israel, and you non-Jews who worship God, listen to me!
The God of Israel chose our people who lived long ago. He blessed them greatly while they were in Egypt. With his mighty power he led them out of that country.
He put up with them for about 40 years in the desert.
He destroyed seven nations in Canaan. Then he gave the land to his people as their rightful share.
All of this took about 450 years. "After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.
Then the people asked for a king. He gave them Saul, son of Kish. Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. He ruled for 40 years.
God removed him and made David their king. Here is God's witness about him. 'David, son of Jesse, is a man dear to my heart,' he said. 'He will do everything I want him to do.'
"From this man's family line God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus. This is what he had promised.
Before Jesus came, John preached that we should turn away from our sins and be baptized. He preached this to all Israel.
John was coming to the end of his work. 'Who do you think I am?' he said. 'I am not the one you are looking for. No, he is coming after me. I am not good enough to untie his sandals.'
"Listen, brothers, you children of Abraham! Listen, you non-Jews who worship God! This message of salvation has been sent to us.
The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus. By finding him guilty, they made the prophets' words come true. These are read every Sabbath day.
The people and their rulers had no reason at all for sentencing Jesus to death. But they asked Pilate to have him killed.
They did everything that had been written about Jesus. Then they took him down from the cross. They laid him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead.
For many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. Now they are his witnesses to our people.
"We are telling you the good news. What God promised our people long ago
he has done for us, their children. He has raised up Jesus. This is what is written in the second Psalm. It says, " 'You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.' #1(Psalm 2:7)#2
God raised Jesus from the dead. He will never rot in the grave. This is what is written in Scripture. It says, " 'Holy and sure blessings were promised to David. I will give them to you.' #1(Isaiah 55:3)#2
In another place it says, " 'You will not let your Holy One rot away.' #1(Psalm 16:10)#2
"David carried out God's purpose while he lived. Then he died. He was buried with his people. His body rotted away.
But the One whom God raised from the dead did not rot away.
"My brothers, here is what I want you to know. I announce to you that your sins can be forgiven because of what Jesus has done.
Through him everyone who believes is made right with God. Moses' law could not make you right in God's eyes.
Be careful! Don't let what the prophets spoke about happen to you. They said,
" 'Look, you who make fun of the truth! Wonder and die! I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe. You wouldn't believe it even if someone told you.' " #1(Habakkuk 1:5)#2
Paul and Barnabas started to leave the synagogue. The people invited them to say more about these things on the next Sabbath day.
The people were told they could leave the service. Many Jews followed Paul and Barnabas. Many non-Jews who faithfully worshiped the God of the Jews did the same. Paul and Barnabas talked with them. They tried to get them to keep living in God's grace.
On the next Sabbath day, almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they became very jealous. They said evil things against what Paul was saying.
Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly. "We had to speak God's word to you first," they said. "But you don't accept it. You don't think you are good enough for eternal life. So now we are turning to those who aren't Jews.
This is what the Lord has commanded us to do. He said, " 'I have made you a light for those who aren't Jews. You will bring salvation to the whole earth.' " #1(Isaiah 49:6)#2
When the non-Jews heard this, they were glad. They honored the word of the Lord. All who were appointed for eternal life believed.
The word of the Lord spread through the whole area.
But the Jews stirred up the important women who worshiped God. They also stirred up the men who were leaders in the city. They tried to get them to attack Paul and Barnabas. They threw them out of that area.
Paul and Barnabas didn't like this. So they shook the dust from their feet. They went on to Iconium.
The believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
At Iconium, Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue as usual. They spoke there with great power. Large numbers of Jews and non-Jews became believers.
But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up those who weren't Jews. They poisoned their minds against the two men and the new believers.
So Paul and Barnabas spent a lot of time there. They spoke boldly for the Lord. He gave them the ability to do miraculous signs and wonders. In this way the Lord showed that they were telling the truth about his grace.
The people of the city did not agree with each other. Some were on the side of the Jews. Others were on the side of the apostles.
Jews and non-Jews alike planned to treat Paul and Barnabas badly. Their leaders agreed. They planned to kill them by throwing stones at them.
But Paul and Barnabas found out about the plan. They escaped to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding area.
There they continued to preach the good news.
In Lystra there sat a man who couldn't walk. He hadn't been able to use his feet since the day he was born.
He listened as Paul spoke. Paul looked right at him. He saw that the man had faith to be healed.
So he called out, "Stand up on your feet!" Then the man jumped up and began to walk.
The crowd saw what Paul had done. They shouted in the Lycaonian language. "The gods have come down to us in human form!" they exclaimed.
They called Barnabas Zeus. Paul was the main speaker. So they called him Hermes.
Just outside the city was the temple of the god Zeus. The priest of Zeus brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates. He and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas.
But the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard about this. So they tore their clothes. They rushed out into the crowd. They shouted,
"Why are you men doing this? We are only human, just like you. We are bringing you good news. Turn away from these worthless things. Turn to the living God. He is the one who made the heavens and the earth and the sea. He made everything in them.
In the past, he let all nations go their own way.
But he has given proof of what he is like. He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven. He gives you crops in their seasons. He provides you with plenty of food. He fills your hearts with joy."
Paul and Barnabas told them all these things. But they had trouble keeping the crowd from offering sacrifices to them.
Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium. They won the crowd over to their side. They threw stones at Paul. They thought he was dead, so they dragged him out of the city.
The believers gathered around Paul. Then he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
Paul and Barnabas preached the good news in the city of Derbe. They won large numbers of followers. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch.
There they helped the believers gain strength. They told them to remain true to what they had been taught. "We must go through many hard times to enter God's kingdom," they said.
Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church. The elders had trusted in the Lord. Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted. They placed the elders in the Lord's care.
After going through Pisidia, Paul and Barnabas came into Pamphylia.
They preached the word in Perga. Then they went down to Attalia.
From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch. That was where they had been committed to God's grace. They had now completed the work God had given them to do.
When they arrived at Antioch, they gathered the church together. They reported all that God had done through them. They told how he had opened the way for non-Jews to believe.
And they stayed there a long time with the believers.