A Momentous Step
Loving Lord, I celebrate Your love. I praise You for Your mercy. I count on Your faithfulness.
Read Acts 13:1-12
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.
“Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Break me, melt me, mold me, fill me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me” (Daniel Iverson, 1890-1977).
The story of the early church now enters an exciting new phase in direct fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy that his disciples would witness to him “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). During this “first missionary journey,” we see for the first time the church collectively and intentionally commissioning Saul and Barnabas for the work of international mission. Previously, much of the spread of the Gospel was due to individual Christians fleeing persecution (Acts 8:4; 11:19-21). Although some Gentiles had been reached, this now proved to be a momentous step forward. The nature of the work wasn’t specified, but the call to go was clear. It took courageous faith to step into the unknown, although at the time they wouldn’t have known just how significant this was to be for the whole future story of the church.
The five leaders mentioned reflected Antioch’s ethnic and cultural diversity, and as such may have been more open to leading the church into sending Saul and Barnabas overseas. Note that it is as the church was worshiping and fasting that they heard the Holy Spirit’s instructions. Planning is important, but not at the expense of finding direction in the context of worship and wholehearted engagement with God. Their first stop is Cyprus. No reason is given, although Barnabas came from there (Acts 4:36). The opposition soon starts. Just because their calling had been clear it didn’t mean that everything would go smoothly. In kingdom terms, they were engaged in something bigger than they knew, so it’s not surprising that they were contested by an overtly demonic source (6-12). Today, our small steps of obedience to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, as confirmed by others, can have consequences far beyond our imaginings. Even if things don’t go as intended, this may even be strangely encouraging!
Do you have plans to formulate or decisions to make? Before starting, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you clearly and give you courage to take the necessary steps.
Holy Spirit of God, I want to keep in step with You. Guide me in my decisions. Keep me focused on Jesus, and watch over me throughout this day.
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