My Lord, keep me close to You and quiet any anxiety in me. I want to calmly serve You today.
Read Acts 13:1-12
 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.  While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.  The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.  When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.  They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus,  who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.  But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.  Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said,  “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?  Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.  When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow were Barnabas and Saul set apart for their mission?
Paul probably had three other names: a Jewish name (Saul), a name as a Roman citizen and a Latin name (Paulus). But Luke uses the name “Paul” to indicate that, from this point on, Paul was identifying with the Gentile population. Church leaders in Antioch are actively seeking to spread the Good News of Jesus. Paul already knows he has been called to tell others about Jesus (9:15,16) and has spent a year teaching in the church in Antioch (11:25,26). The Holy Spirit guides the leaders to appoint him and Barnabas for their mission (2). They sense that the Spirit has sent them (4) to go first to the Jewish meeting place and then to connect with the Gentile governor of Cyprus (6,7). Here, the Spirit powerfully equips Paul to refute Elymas’ falsehood (9). Every Christian here appears to be guided by the Spirit. He leads them to be wonderfully flexible in embracing whatever opportunities emerge. We must pray for church leaders to seek fresh ways to share the Gospel, and be open to whatever opportunities arise. To do this, they, too, need to be reliant upon the Holy Spirit for direction and wisdom.
Plan to pray regularly for your church and other Christian leaders to have the leading and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, I praise You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit and the wisdom and direction Your Spirit provides.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Discovery is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.