Barnabas and Saul Are Chosen
1In the church at Antioch there were these prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (also called Niger), Lucius (from the city of Cyrene), Manaen (who had grown up with Herod, the ruler) and Saul. 2They were all worshiping the Lord and giving up eating.# This is called “fasting.” The people would give up eating for a special time of prayer and worship to God. It was also done to show sadness. The Holy Spirit said to them, “Give Barnabas and Saul to me to do a special work. I have chosen them for it.”
3So they gave up eating and prayed. They laid their hands on# Here, this was a sign to show that these men were given a special work of God. Barnabas and Saul and sent them out.
Barnabas and Saul in Cyprus
4Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went to the city of Seleucia. From there they sailed to the island of Cyprus. 5When they came to Salamis, they preached the Good News of God in the Jewish synagogues. John Mark was with them to help.
6They went across the whole island to Paphos. In Paphos they met a Jew who was a magician. His name was Bar-Jesus. He was a false prophet, 7who always stayed close to Sergius Paulus, the governor. Sergius Paulus was a smart man. He asked Barnabas and Saul to come to him, because he wanted to hear the message of God. 8But Elymas, the magician (that is what his name means), was against them. He tried to stop the governor from believing in Jesus. 9But Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Saul’s other name was Paul.) He looked straight at Elymas 10and said, “You son of the devil! You are an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of evil tricks and lies. You are always trying to change the Lord’s truths into lies! 11Now the Lord will touch you, and you will be blind. For a time you will not be able to see anything—not even the light from the sun.”
Then everything became dark for Elymas. He walked around, trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the governor saw this, he believed. He was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
Paul and Barnabas Leave Cyprus
13Paul and those with him sailed away from Paphos. They came to Perga, in Pamphylia. But John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. 14They continued their trip from Perga and went to Antioch, a city in Pisidia. On the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15The law of Moses and the writings of the prophets were read. Then the leaders of the synagogue sent a message to Paul and Barnabas: “Brothers, if you have any message that will encourage the people, please speak!”
16Paul stood up. He raised his hand and said, “Men of Israel and you other people who worship God, please listen! 17The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors. He made the people great during the time they lived in Egypt. He brought them out of that country with great power. 18And he was patient with them# Some Greek copies read “And he cared for them.” for 40 years in the desert. 19God destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and gave the land to his people. 20All this happened in about 450 years.
“After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21Then the people asked for a king. God gave them Saul son of Kish. Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. He was king for 40 years. 22After God took him away, God made David their king. This is what God said about him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse. He is the kind of man I want. He will do all that I want him to do.’ 23So God has brought one of David’s descendants to Israel to be their Savior. That descendant is Jesus. And God promised to do this. 24Before Jesus came, John# John the Baptist, who preached to people about Christ’s coming (Matthew 3; Luke 3). preached to all the people of Israel. He told them about a baptism of changed hearts and lives. 25When he was finishing his work, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not the Christ. He is coming later. I am not worthy to untie his sandals.’
26“Brothers, sons in the family of Abraham, and you non-Jews who worship God, listen! The news about this salvation has been sent to us. 27Those who live in Jerusalem and their leaders did not realize that Jesus was the Savior. They did not understand the words that the prophets wrote, which are read every Sabbath day. But they made them come true when they said Jesus was guilty. 28They could not find any real reason for Jesus to die, but they asked Pilate to have him killed. 29They did to him all that the Scriptures had said. Then they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. 30But God raised him up from death! 31After this, for many days, the people who had gone with Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem saw him. They are now his witnesses to the people. 32We tell you the Good News about the promise God made to our ancestors. 33We are their children, and God has made this promise come true for us. God did this by raising Jesus from death. We read about this also in Psalm 2:
‘You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father.’ Psalm 2:7
34God raised Jesus from death. He will never go back to the grave and become dust. So God said:
‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings
that I promised to David.’ Isaiah 55:3
35But in another place God says:
‘You will not let your Holy One
rot in the grave.’ Psalm 16:10
36David did God’s will during his lifetime. Then he died and was buried with his fathers. And his body did rot in the grave! 37But the One God raised from death did not rot in the grave. 38-39Brothers, you must understand what we are telling you: You can have forgiveness of your sins through Jesus. The law of Moses could not free you from your sins. But everyone who believes is free from all sins through him. 40Be careful! Don’t let what the prophets said happen to you:
41‘Listen, you people who doubt!
You can wonder, and then die.
I will do something in your lifetime that will amaze you.
You won’t believe it even when you are told about it!’” Habakkuk 1:5
42While Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people asked them to tell them more about these things on the next Sabbath. 43After the meeting, many Jews followed Paul and Barnabas from that place. With the Jews there were many who had changed to the Jewish religion and worshiped God. Paul and Barnabas were persuading them to continue trusting in God’s kindness.
44On the next Sabbath day, almost all the people in the city came to hear the word of the Lord. 45Seeing the crowd, the Jews became very jealous. They said insulting things and argued against what Paul said. 46But Paul and Barnabas spoke very boldly. They said, “We must speak the message of God to you first. But you refuse to listen. You are judging yourselves not worthy of having eternal life! So we will now go to the people of other nations! 47This is what the Lord told us to do. The Lord said:
‘I have made you a light for the non-Jewish nations.
You will show people all over the world the way to be saved.’” Isaiah 49:6
48When the non-Jewish people heard Paul say this, they were happy. They gave honor to the message of the Lord. And many of the people believed the message. They were the ones chosen to have life forever.
49And so the message of the Lord was spreading through the whole country. 50But the Jews stirred up some of the important religious women and the leaders of the city against Paul and Barnabas. They started trouble against Paul and Barnabas and drove them out of their area. 51So Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet# A warning. It showed that they were finished talking to these people. and went to Iconium. 52But the followers were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.