Acts 14:1-6 A City Divided

Too bad many are pulling up the bricks instead of laying them down

On to the next leg of Paul and Barnabas’ missionary journey. They shook the dust of Antioch off their feet and headed for Iconium. This stop lasts for quite a while.

I’m going to make a confession to you. I miss Jesus’ parables. I find it hard to say much beyond what is written in the scriptures in our study. I miss being able to dive in and hunt for deeper understanding. I have a few questions that today’s reading sparks but they are ones that can’t be answered until I get to meet these people “face to face.” More bench time questions.

I want to share my questions and observations anyway so here goes. Read more »

Acts 13:13-52 Fickle Fellows

We are in Galatia!

Today’s reading is very long! We continue on with Paul, Barnabas and John Mark as they move on in their first missionary journey. John mark leaves from Pamphylia and heads back to Jerusalem before we get to the second Antioch in Pisidia. This is not the same Antioch that sent them out but another location all together. This Antioch is actually in Galatia. We aren’t told why John Mark leaves but it will become an issue for Paul when considering who to take on future journeys.

Paul and Barnabas make a point of always starting their visits to each new city by presenting the gospel to the Jews first. So, as usual, they find themselves in the synagogue come the Sabbath. I find it quite interesting that the rulers of the synagogue asked them to speak. I would think that their fame would precede them and the religious leaders would want to avoid giving them a platform to teach from. Did this group know Paul from his early years, before becoming a Christian? What were they expecting them to say? Maybe it was simply standard practice to allow and encourage visiting ministers to share with the people. Read more »

Acts 13:4-12 …Go!

The first step in a long road

Today we start the first of Saul/Paul’s official missionary journeys. He, Barnabas and John Mark are sent off by the Holy Spirit. This is not Barnabas’s first missionary journey as he was the one to first go to Antioch. John Mark is new to this scene and is coming along as an assistant.

When this trio came into a new area the first place they went was to the synagogues of the Jews. If they weren’t received there then they were free to move onto the Gentile population in the area. We are told “they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus” (verse). They proclaimed the word of God in Salamis and worked their way to Paphos. I have no idea how long this took. It is 90 miles between the two mentioned locations. Read more »

Acts 13:1-3 Ready, Set…

The starting place for any work of God

The Holy Spirit says it’s time now for Saul/Paul to take up the mission he was called to. We get to look in on this commissioning.

Saul was told he was going to be God’s instrument from the first time he encountered Him. He also knew that his calling was to the Gentiles. As a devout Jew he would have been appalled at this idea but as a forgiven child of God he was willing to do whatever God asked him to.

Saul’s early audiences didn’t include very many Gentiles. They were mainly made up of Jewish people who Saul spoke boldly to about the gospel. Many believed but many others also wanted him stopped, permanently. But he didn’t stop. He relocated on a couple of occasions but he kept right on sharing with anyone who would listen. Read more »

Acts 12:20-25 Herod’s Just Deserts

Vengeance is Mine says the Lord

Today we get to look at an ugly heart; the heart of Herod Agrippa I. He was only in his position of Herod for three years, but that was more than enough time for the church to have to deal with him. God cut his reign short.

The Herods were not Jewish but Edomites by birth but ruled in Judea during the life of Jesus and the early church. The very first Herod, Herod the Great, was appointed by the Roman Senate as King of Judea in 40 B.C. His family line carried on the position to its conclusion in about 93/94 A.D. The last of the Herods was Herod Agrippa II who sent Paul on to Rome to stand before Caesar. Herod Agrippa II died childless and only had sisters so the line of Herod ended with him. Read more »