Barnabas and Saul Begin Their First Missionary Journey
13 1 The congregation in Antioch was blessed with a number of prophet-preachers and teachers: Barnabas, Simon, nicknamed Niger, Lucius the Cyrenian, Manaen, an advisor to the ruler Herod, Saul. 2 One day as they were worshiping God - they were also fasting as they waited for guidance - the Holy Spirit spoke: "Take Barnabas and Saul and commission them for the work I have called them to do." 3 So they commissioned them. In that circle of intensity and obedience, of fasting and praying, they laid hands on their heads and sent them off.
The Apostles Preach in Cyprus
4 Sent off on their new assignment by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul went down to Seleucia and caught a ship for Cyprus. 5 The first thing they did when they put in at Salamis was preach God's Word in the Jewish meeting places. They had John along to help out as needed. 6 They traveled the length of the island, and at Paphos came upon a Jewish wizard 7 who had worked himself into the confidence of the governor, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man not easily taken in by charlatans. The wizard's name was Bar-Jesus. He was as crooked as a corkscrew. 8 But Dr. Know-It-All (that's the wizard's name in plain English) stirred up a ruckus, trying to divert the governor from becoming a believer. 9 But Saul (or Paul), full of the Holy Spirit and looking him straight in the eye, said, 10 "You bag of wind, you parody of a devil - why, you stay up nights inventing schemes to cheat people out of God. 11 But now you've come up against God himself, and your game is up. You're about to go blind - no sunlight for you for a good long stretch." He was plunged immediately into a shadowy mist and stumbled around, begging people to take his hand and show him the way. 12 When the governor saw what happened, he became a believer, full of enthusiasm over what they were saying about the Master.
Paul and Barnabas at Antioch of Pisidia
13 From Paphos, Paul and company put out to sea, sailing on to Perga in Pamphylia. That's where John called it quits and went back to Jerusalem.
14 From Perga the rest of them traveled on to Antioch in Pisidia. 15 After the reading of the Scriptures - God's Law and the Prophets - the president of the meeting asked them, "Friends, do you have anything you want to say? A word of encouragement, perhaps?" 16 Paul stood up, paused and took a deep breath, then said, "Fellow Israelites and friends of God, listen. 17 God took a special interest in our ancestors, pulled our people who were beaten down in Egyptian exile to their feet, and led them out of there in grand style. 18 He took good care of them for nearly forty years in that godforsaken wilderness 19 and then, having wiped out seven enemies who stood in the way, gave them the land of Canaan for their very own - 20 a span in all of about four hundred fifty years. 21 But then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, out of the tribe of Benjamin. After Saul had ruled forty years, 22 God removed him from office and put King David in his place, with this commendation: 'I've searched the land and found this David, son of Jesse. He's a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him.' 23 "From out of David's descendants God produced a Savior for Israel, Jesus, exactly as he promised - 24 but only after John had thoroughly alerted the people to his arrival by preparing them for a total life-change. 25 As John was finishing up his work, he said, 'Did you think I was the One? No, I'm not the One. But the One you've been waiting for all these years is just around the corner, about to appear. And I'm about to disappear.'