The chapter speaks to the aggressive forward movement of the church.
Antioch is located in the upper reaches of modern day war torn Syria, but at this time was a crown jewel of city, and the launching point for the churches global outreach.
Prophets and Teachers
It’s best to think of the role of “Prophet and Teachers” as ministries, more than formal offices. Preaching for example, is the combination of teaching and prophetic words. Teaching is obvious, the bible must be taught cover to cover, line by line. Prophet or prophesy often comes across with much less clarity. Prophesy is not foretelling future events but speaking what God wants spoken at that time—and here is the key and please don’t miss it—through the scriptures. Without the scriptures, there is no prophesy. The scriptures are alive, and God wants to speak prophetically through his Word to his people.
Cast of Characters
A number of men are listed as those seeking God.
Barnabas means son of encouragement
Simeon was a black man from North Africa
Lucius was from Cyprus
Manaen’s grandfather was foster adopted into Herod the Great family. The grandkids on both sides also ended up best of friends, Herod Agrippa, or Tetrarch in the text, and Manaen grew up in the same household. In the prior chapter Herod the Tetrarch is seen trying to kill Peter, but here in the next chapter his best friend, Manaen is choosing Jesus. Ultimately we all have to make the same choice
We are not used to thinking about how to “minister” to the Lord in the context of worship. But that is genuine worship, ministering to the Lord in a manner pleasing to him. God inhabits the praises of his people, he loves when his name is lifted up, and he welcomes a group of people making time and effort to focus their lives on him.
Sent Them Off
The church laid hands on them in order to impart power and favor from God, and off they went.
It is impossible to advance in the Kingdom of God in this lifetime without confronting evil, it’s out there and you and I have to overcome it. Sometimes evil is expressed in an obvious way, often is hides deep in the hearts of people not wanting to expose itself.
Barnabas, Paul and John Mark sail to Cyprus and come to the far side of that island. They meet Mayor Sergius Paulus (Proconsul in the text), and find favor with him. The Mayor has chief advisor who is bad news, and Satan Worshipper named Bar Jesus (son of Jesus in the original). Later in the story we learn Bar Jesus’ real name, Elymas. That man was such a pest Paul felt the need to shut him down, and does so by pronouncing a judgment—“You will be blind and unable to see for a time.”
The man became blind, and he stopped being a pest.
Two Questions come to mind regarding steeling your character against evil:
- What will you give your life to?
- Do you realize that evil is deeply entrenched?
Two thoughts come to mind regarding how to overcome evil:
- The way God conquers our enemies is by first conquering us
- The devil can only get inside your heart if he finds something in there that belongs to him.
Love you all.
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