The First Missionary Journey

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Acts 13-15

Led by the Spirit, the church at Antioch sets aside its best men for missionary work. A Christian young person who is qualified ought not to ask “What occupation will give me most money?” but “Does the Lord want me to be a missionary?” Paul and Barnabas make the island of Cyprus their first stop. There the Roman proconsul is converted. They then sail for the south coast of what is now Turkey. There John (also named Mark, who later wrote the gospel so named) quit the mission and returned home.

At Antioch of Pisidia, Paul preaches in the synagogue, and like Stephen, recounts God’s dealings with Israel up to the point where Jesus arrives on the scene. Having preached about the crucifixion and resurrection, he warns his hearers of the danger of rejecting the gospel. It is still very dangerous to do so.

At Lystra the people first want to honor them as gods and, shortly after, stone Paul, apparently knocking him unconscious. They then double back on the cities where they had established churches, “strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith” (14:22). May the preaching in our churches strengthen each one spiritually. Returning to Jerusalem, a general synod of sorts is held to set guidelines to assure that Gentiles will be accepted in the church on an equal basis with Jews.

PRAYER

Father, bless missionaries whom we have sent forth that their work will result in many converts to Christ. Amen.