Read: Acts 13:1-3
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (v. 2)
When Jesus ascended into heaven, he spoke these parting words: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). Obviously, the church in Antioch had not forgotten this statement of their Lord, for here in today’s reading we see them sending Barnabas and Saul off into mission. This was not their idea; it was of the Holy Spirit.
The church in Antioch was a mission-minded church, and you can tell that just by looking at the list of leaders who are mentioned in verse 1. Those described as “prophets and teachers” were quite a diverse group already. It is notable that none of them were from Jerusalem, Judea, or Galilee. Saul was from Tarsus in Cilicia; Barnabas was a Jew from Cyprus; Lucias came from Cyrene in northern Africa; and Simeon, who was also called Niger, was also most likely from Africa. In fact, there is speculation that this is the same “Simon of Cyrene” who carried the cross of Jesus.
The church was already realizing that its message was for the whole world. These church leaders from many lands and backgrounds had discovered the secret of togetherness because they had discovered the secret of Christ. —John Koedyker
As you pray, ask God to continue sending out many people to share the gospel throughout the world.
About the Author
Rev. John Koedyker has been a pastor in the Reformed Church in America for more than forty years. His ministry began in Japan where he served as a missionary for ten years. After that he has served churches in Iowa and Michigan. He has served as the Stated Clerk of Muskegon Classis, RCA, for the past sixteen years and also presently serves as pastor of congregational care at First Reformed Church of Grand Haven, Michigan. John has written a number of times previously for Words of Hope and he has a bi-monthly religion column in the Grand Haven Tribune. He is married to Marilyn, and they have four grown children and seven grandchildren.