First Missionary Journey
Series: Pre Pauline Letters
Acts 13:1-3 ESV
Acts 13:4-6 (They set sail; they met a false prophet)
Acts 13:7 (Sergius Paulus, Proconsul)
Acts 13:8b-12 ESV
Acts 13:22-23 ESV
Acts 13:16-23 (God’s Plan)
Acts 13:30-33 ESV
Acts 13:38-41 ESV
We do not have record of any letters tat we’re sent from Paul to other disciples during his first Missionary Journey. So…either none were written or none were saved.
We also do not have an indication that it was a well planned event.
No supplies were collected.
No route was chosen.
In Acts 13:1-3 we are told, “Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 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.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”
What we do know is that God (the Holy Spirit) had a plan.
When the Spirit announced the journey to Barnabas and Saul, they knew it was God who called them to go.
In order to prepare for the journey they fasted and prayed.
Then they laid hands on them and sent them off.
Now, I can tell you that I’ve been on my share of mission trips in my lifetime. We did pray about going and we did believe God had a hand in it.
However, we had a travel plan. Some were by car and some by plane.
We did have a plan about what clothes to take and what supplies we would need and we carefully packed everything.
We did pray about what plan God had for us while we were there.
I don’t usually announce it when I am fasting and praying, but when I was planning for a special event I did fast and pray. It was a private affair because I never had the sense that God I wanted me to tell anyone about the fast.
We did ask the church to pray and there were times when others came to pray with us.
The planning timeframe for a trip was usually at least six months before.
When I read the account in Acts I had a feeling from the time God called them to the time they left on their journey a lot of time had not lapsed.
It seemed like they got up one day and God called them, then they fasted and prayed for a time, then they left.
We know from Acts 13:4-5 they sailed to Cyprus and as soon as they landed they started preaching. In Acts 13:6 they met a false prophet named “Bar-Jesus”.
In Acts 13:7 we are told they met a man named Sergio’s Paulus who genuinely wanted to hear the word of God. But the false prophet spoke against them,“seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord” (Acts 13:8b-12).
Wow. I mean, wow. I loved this part of the story!
I felt like…you GO Paul!
We know from the New Testament Aprocraypha Paul was a man small of stature (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/harvard-theological-review/article/abs/physical-description-of-paul/7C201B8D1BEF841D5D256360EA4C0FA3).
It seems like even though Paul was small of stature, he didn’t let that hold him back. Paul did not hesitate to speak out for God!
Next, Paul and Barnabas set sail for Antioch. On the Sabbath they went to the local synagogue. When they arrived they didn’t make a scene. They entered the synagogue and they sat down. The ruler of the synagogue noticed them and he sent them a message offering to let them say a word of encouragement to the crowd.
Paul took the lead.
He clearly outlined a brief history of the Old Testament scriptures and he said that God, “raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ Of this man's offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised” (Acts 13:22-23).
Seamlessly…Paul spoke of God’s plan and told them from a seed of David, a Savior would come (Acts 13:16-23).
Paul explained in Acts 13:30-33, “But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,“‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’”
THEN (and this is Paul’s real genius) in Acts 13:38-41 he said to the people in the synagogue, “Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:
“‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish;for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”
Now we see! We see clearly why God was so determined to have the Apostle Paul on Jesus’ team! He truly understood how to explain the big picture of the Gospel message to his Hebrew brothers (and sisters) and to the Gentiles as well.
Paul WAS the man with the plan!
Spiritual Practice: Say It
Paul was utilizing his knowledge of scripture, but he was also led by the Spirit to speak boldly to the people. Are you willing to speak boldly for God? Tell God you are willing.
In God, Deborah