by David Giles
Saul is called Paul and sets out on a missionary journey with Barnabas
- Paul, like Stephen, began with what his hearers already knew (vv 16-41). Why do you think that was?
- Can jealousy (v 45) still overpower the desire for truth?
Share your thoughts below, or tweet about it with the #boundlessbible hashtag. Don't forget this week's Children's Challenge!
Going Deeper from 'Words of Life'
After the martyrdom of Stephen, the believers scattered – in fear of persecution. Those who fled to Antioch began speaking to the Greeks about Jesus, and many came to Christ:
The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord (11:21).
This news reached the church at Jerusalem, resulting in Barnabas being sent to encourage (his name meaning ‘encourager’) the new Gentile Christians in that city. Soon after, Barnabas sought out Saul in Tarsus. Both returned to Antioch and remained there for a year, building and strengthening this multi-ethnic church:
The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch (v 26).
When the year finished, the Holy Spirit called Barnabas and Saul (now Paul) to spread the word to places far beyond their comfort zone. So the believers placed their hands on them and sent them off on what has been called the first missionary journey – preaching to Gentiles, and obeying the Lord’s command to ‘bring salvation to the ends of the earth’.
Most of us have a ‘comfort zone’. When asked to step out of our area of comfort, we often find it difficult. But if we are involved in Kingdom work, moving out of our comfort zone is to be expected. It might be frightening and extremely uncomfortable . But it often ends up being extraordinary!
Why? Because, like Paul and Barnabas, we see people coming to Jesus:
…and as many as wanted eternal life, believed (13:48 LB).
I close today with a phrase from Corrie ten Boom – a wartime survivor – who was brutally forced out of any kind of ‘comfort zone’ she might have possessed: ‘Today is yesterday’s tomorrow you worried about, and all is well.’
May we trust God, knowing all is well.
Road image: Alex Osaji, used under Creative Commons licence