The Mission to Cyprus

Read: Acts 13:4-12

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. (v. 4)

In Mark 5, Jesus healed a man with an unclean spirit. As Jesus was getting into a boat, the man started begging to go along. He was so captivated by Jesus that he wanted to join him as he journeyed about the land. Instead, Jesus said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you” (v. 19).

Perhaps Barnabas recalled those words as he and Saul set out on their missionary journey. Barnabas was from Cyprus, so it was no mistake that he wanted to go there first to let his countrymen hear about Jesus. It is often this way for new believers—they want to share their newfound faith with the ones they grew up with. This is especially true when they have come from places where few know the good news.

These verses are also important as they indicate a name change. Saul will henceforth be known as Paul. For Paul, this meant a new life and purpose for him. In addition, people in those days often went by two names, one in their local surroundings and one out in the world. Paul knew he would from this point onward be in the world proclaiming the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. So it only seemed right that he go by that name. —John Koedyker

As you pray, thank God that he knows your name.

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.

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