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Barnabas and Saul Are Chosen and Sent

13 The church at Antioch had several prophets and teachers. They were Barnabas, Simeon, also called Niger, Lucius from Cyrene, Manaen, who was Herod’s[a] close friend, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and going without eating,[b] the Holy Spirit told them, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul to do the work for which I have chosen them.” Everyone prayed and went without eating for a while longer. Next, they placed their hands on Barnabas and Saul to show that they had been appointed to do this work. Then everyone sent them on their way.

Barnabas and Saul in Cyprus

After Barnabas and Saul had been sent by the Holy Spirit, they went to Seleucia. From there they sailed to the island of Cyprus. They arrived at Salamis and began to preach God’s message in the Jewish meeting places. They also had John[c] as a helper.

Barnabas and Saul went all the way to the city of Paphos on the other end of the island, where they met a Jewish man named Bar-Jesus. He practiced witchcraft and was a false prophet. He also worked for Sergius Paulus, who was very smart and was the governor of the island. Sergius Paulus wanted to hear God’s message, and he sent for Barnabas and Saul. But Bar-Jesus, whose other name was Elymas, was against them. He even tried to keep the governor from having faith in the Lord.

Then Saul, better known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit. He looked straight at Elymas 10 and said, “You son of the devil! You are a liar, a crook, and an enemy of everything that is right. When will you stop speaking against the true ways of the Lord? 11 The Lord is going to punish you by making you completely blind for a while.”

Suddenly the man’s eyes were covered by a dark mist, and he went around trying to get someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the governor saw what had happened, he was amazed at this teaching about the Lord. So he put his faith in the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas in Antioch of Pisidia

13 Paul and the others left Paphos and sailed to Perga in Pamphylia. But John[d] left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14 The rest of them went on from Perga to Antioch in Pisidia. Then on the Sabbath they went to the Jewish meeting place and sat down.

15 After the reading of the Law and the Prophets,[e] the leaders sent someone over to tell Paul and Barnabas, “Friends, if you have anything to say that will help the people, please say it.”

16 Paul got up. He motioned with his hand and said:

People of Israel, and everyone else who worships God, listen! 17 The God of Israel chose our ancestors, and he let our people prosper while they were living in Egypt. Then with his mighty power he led them out, 18 and for about forty years he took care of[f] them in the desert. 19 He destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and gave their land to our people. 20 All this happened in about 450 years.

Then God gave our people judges until the time of the prophet Samuel, 21 but the people demanded a king. So for forty years God gave them King Saul, the son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. 22 Later, God removed Saul and let David rule in his place. God said about him, “David the son of Jesse is the kind of person who pleases me most! He does everything I want him to do.”

23 God promised that someone from David’s family would come to save the people of Israel, and that one is Jesus. 24 But before Jesus came, John was telling everyone in Israel to turn back to God and be baptized. 25 Then, when John’s work was almost done, he said, “Who do you people think I am? Do you think I am the Promised One? He will come later, and I am not good enough to untie his sandals.”

26 Now listen, you descendants of Abraham! Pay attention, all of you Gentiles who are here to worship God! Listen to this message about how to be saved, because it is for everyone. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their leaders didn’t realize who Jesus was. And they didn’t understand the words of the prophets that they read each Sabbath. So they condemned Jesus just as the prophets had said.

28-29 They did exactly what the Scriptures said they would. Even though they couldn’t find any reason to put Jesus to death, they still asked Pilate to have him killed.

After Jesus had been put to death, he was taken down from the cross[g] and placed in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from death! 31 Then for many days Jesus appeared to his followers who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. Now they are telling our people about him.

32 God made a promise to our ancestors. And we are here to tell you the good news 33 that he has kept this promise to us. It is just as the second Psalm says about Jesus,

“You are my son because today
    I have become your Father.”

34 God raised Jesus from death and will never let his body decay. It is just as God said,

“I will make to you
    the same holy promise
    that I made to David.”

35 And in another psalm it says, “God will never let the body of his Holy One decay.”

36 When David was alive, he obeyed God. Then after he died, he was buried in the family grave, and his body decayed. 37 But God raised Jesus from death, and his body did not decay.

38 My friends, the message is that Jesus can forgive your sins! The Law of Moses could not set you free from all your sins. 39 But everyone who has faith in Jesus is set free. 40 Make sure that what the prophets have said doesn’t happen to you. They said,

41 “Look, you people
    who make fun of God!
Be amazed
    and disappear.
I will do something today
    that you won’t believe,
even if someone
    tells you about it!”

42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the meeting, the people begged them to say more about these same things on the next Sabbath. 43 After the service, many Jews and a lot of Gentiles who worshiped God went with them. Paul and Barnabas begged them all to remain faithful to God, who had been so kind to them.

44 The next Sabbath almost everyone in town came to hear the message about the Lord.[h] 45 When the Jewish people saw the crowds, they were very jealous. They insulted Paul and spoke against everything he said.

46 But Paul and Barnabas bravely said:

We had to tell God’s message to you before we told it to anyone else. But you rejected the message! This proves that you don’t deserve eternal life. Now we are going to the Gentiles. 47 The Lord has given us this command,

“I have placed you here
    as a light
    for the Gentiles.
You are to take
    the saving power of God
to people everywhere on earth.”

48 This message made the Gentiles glad, and they praised what they had heard about the Lord. [i] Everyone who had been chosen for eternal life then put their faith in the Lord.

49 The message about the Lord spread all over that region. 50 But the Jewish leaders went to some of the important men in the town and to some respected women who were religious. They turned them against Paul and Barnabas and started making trouble for them. They even chased them out of that part of the country.

51 Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from that place off their feet[j] and went on to the city of Iconium.

52 But the Lord’s followers in Antioch were very happy and were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Footnotes

  1. 13.1 Herod’s: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.
  2. 13.2 going without eating: The Jews often went without eating as a way of showing how much they loved God. This is also called “fasting.”
  3. 13.5,13 John: Whose other name was Mark (see 12.12,25).
  4. 13.5,13 John: Whose other name was Mark (see 12.12,25).
  5. 13.15 the Law and the Prophets: The Jewish Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament.
  6. 13.18 took care of: Some manuscripts have “put up with.”
  7. 13.28,29 cross: This translates a Greek word that means “wood,” “pole,” or “tree.”
  8. 13.44,48 the Lord: Some manuscripts have “God.”
  9. 13.44,48 the Lord: Some manuscripts have “God.”
  10. 13.51 shook the dust from that place off their feet: This was a way of showing rejection.

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