Paul's First Journey
Text Acts 12:25-13:43
I. Paul and Barnabas returned from Jerusalem, having accomplished their mission
A. Accompanying them was John Mark, Barnabas’s cousin - Colossians 4:10
B. The church in Antioch was thriving. They had many prophets and teachers among them, showing that Saul and Barnabas were no longer as essential for the congregation.
II. The Spirit notified them that Saul and Barnabas were to be set apart for a special work
A. The congregation fasted, prayed, and laid hands on these two to show both their love and willingness to support them on this journey.
B. John Mark accompanied them on this journey.
C. From Antioch, they traveled to a nearby costal town and took a ship to Cyprus.
D. They landed on the eastern coast at the town of Salamis where they began preaching the gospel in the synagogues.
E. They traveled over land, preaching and walking, until they reached the west coast town of Paphos.
III. The proconsul of Rome, Sergius Paulus, resided in Paphos.
A. He was an intelligent man, and hearing of Paul and Barnabas, he sent for them to hear this message they where preaching.
B. Sergius Paulus had an advisor, a self-proclaimed Jewish prophet.
1. His Hebrew name was Bar-Jesus, but in Greek he was called Elymas (wizard) for he was a magician.
2. Elymas opposed Paul and Barnabas’s teaching and tried to persuade the proconsul not to listen to their words.
3. But Saul, now being called Paul, looked upon Elymas, pronounced judgment on the magician. He was not the son of the savior, but the son of the devil. He was obscuring that which was plain and keeping people from following the Lord.
4. By the power of the Spirit, Elymas was blinded for a time. How long, we do not know.
a. He had to be lead out by others.
5. The sight of this miracle (not all miracles are benevolent), caused Sergius Paulus to believe. He was amazed at the teachings of the Lord. In all likelihood, he became a Christian, though we are not told.
IV. From here Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark sailed to Perga in Pamphylia.
A. Here John Mark gave up and returned to Jerusalem. We are not told as to why he left, but we do know that Paul was very disappointed in John Mark. He viewed it as a desertion - Acts 15:39
B. Paul and Barnabas then traveled north to another Antioch, this town being in Pisidia.
C. On the Sabbath, they joined the Jews in the synagogue.
1. As part of the service, Scriptures are read and men are invited to make comments or give words of encouragement to those gathered.
2. Paul used this opportunity to present a message.
V. Paul’s message in Antioch of Pisidia
A. He began with the common ground of their history.
B. When he reached the selection of David as king, he reminded them that David was a man after God’s own heart; a man obedient to God’s will.
1. It was prophesied of David that a savior would come of his lineage.
2. That man, Paul said was Jesus, whose name means “savior.”
3. Paul then presents evidence.
a. John heralded his coming, saying that he was not the Messiah, but that the Messiah would come after him.
b. This Messiah would be far greater than John.
C. This is the message Paul brought to them
1. The Jews living in Jerusalem, especially the rulers, did not acknowledge the savior when he came, despite having the prophets, whose words foretold his coming, read to them every Sabbath.
2. Instead, they fulfilled prophesy by condemning Jesus.
3. Though they could find no charge against Jesus, they asked Pilate to execute him.
a. All this fulfilled the words of the prophets.
b. After his death on the cross, he was taken down and placed in a tomb.
c. But God raised him up
4. Many people over many days witnessed that Jesus returned from the dead. His followers, the apostles, became witnesses of this fact. (This is what an apostle is, a witness to the resurrection of Jesus.)
5. This is the message Paul was bringing to them.
D. The resurrection fulfilled prophecy
1. He quotes from Psalm 2:7 to show that God would cause his Son to be born (resurrected).
2. He was raised to immortality and was given the blessings of David (to rule on David’s throne forever). He quotes Isaiah 55:3 and Psalm 16:10 as proof.
a. He points out that Psalm 16:10 could not be speaking of David because David died.
b. This one would not decay in a grave.
3. Therefore it is in Jesus that sins would be forgiven (salvation)
4. It only requires belief to gain what the Old Testament could not give.
E. He warns against disbelief, else the prophecy of the prophets would come upon them (Habakkuk 1:5?)
F. The people were excited by the message and begged Paul and Barnabas to return the following Sabbath.
1. Many who were there became Christians.