Tuesday 19 July 2022

Bible Book:

The Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ (v. 2)

Acts 13:1-12 Tuesday 19 July 2022

Psalm 11:1-5


This passage illustrates very well for us how things began to develop in the Early Church. Those who followed Jesus had taken his words seriously – the gospel message was now being intentionally taken out of its Jewish homeland into the world. And every step was taken under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Today's passage speaks of prophets and teachers having slightly different roles. Prophets were not usually attached to a particular group of believers but were, in Methodist terminology, itinerant. Teachers, on the other hand, exercised their role within their local congregation. The list of names in this passage shows how the gospel was already having an appeal beyond its Jewish heartland: Barnabas was a Jew, but from Cyprus; Lucius was from Cyrene in North Africa; Simeon's alternative name, Niger, shows that he had moved in Roman circles. Saul (Paul) himself was from Tarsus in Cilicia, in modern Turkey.

Despite all these differences in background and role, this group of believers found their togetherness in Christ.

As this group sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit, people were set aside for particular tasks. In this way, Barnabas and Saul became missionaries and set off for Cyprus where they met all the challenges that every generation of pioneer missionaries face: suspicion, local cults and practices.

To Ponder:

  • Does the diverse community in your church have a togetherness in Christ that transcends differences? Or are there challenges?
  • We have read that Barnabas and Saul were 'set aside' for their work. To what extent should we take more seriously the 'setting aside' of people for a variety of roles within each local church?

Previously published in 2019.

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