ACTS OF THE APOSTLES CHAPTER 14
Paul and Barnabas were half way into their first missionary trip. Much had been accomplished for the Lord with souls turning to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews were the first to be told about the Messiah of Israel followed by the Gentiles when the Jews rejected the Lord and turned against them. This pattern of preaching to the Jews first and then the Gentiles followed by persecution from the unbelieving Jews became a standard occurrence wherever they preached the gospel of Christ. So having been chased off from Pisidia, they came to Iconium to extend the gospel to those who had yet to hear about what the Lord Jesus Christ had done for them.
Acts 14:1: And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
Acts 14:2: But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
So the first pre-planned gospel venture was to target those Jews and proselytes attending their Sabbath day observance in the synagogue. Unlike the initial response from those at Antioch in Pisidia, here a great multitude both of the Jews and the Greeks believed. This result was no doubt encouraging but trouble would soon be expected from those unbelieving Jews. As the venue of this gospel offensive was not taking place in Israel, those unbelieving Jews could not take on the apostles alone. They enlisted the help of the Gentiles in their persecution of the apostles and their disciples.
Their mode of persecution was first psychological turning the minds of the Gentiles against Christians in the city. This was the first step by waging a public opinion war against believers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians must first be made public enemies and then subsequent cleansing operations would be easily carried out. Notwithstanding, the Lord would still have His servants ministering to those whose hearts were responsive to the gospel of the Lord. In the face of threats, Christians should commit themselves to the Lord in any mind-war the enemies are bringing on to try to wear them down.
Acts 14:3: Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Acts 14:4: But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
In spite of threats faced by Paul and Barnabas, they spent a long time there speaking boldly in the Lord: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) This boldness given to them from the Lord to labour on was necessary in the face of these relentless enemies waging a spiritual warfare without a face or frontier. Moreover signs and wonders were done by the hands of Paul and Barnabas and hence keeping their enemies at bay. As a result, the penetration of the gospel of Christ was so effective that the city was divided where part of the multitude followed the apostles. Here Barnabas was recorded to be one of the apostles where signs and wonders were also done through this apostle. The time had come where this psychological war had to be escalated to the next level of physical confrontation signalling the end of the work of these apostles in the city and other cities would get a chance to hear the gospel of the Lord.
Acts 14:5: And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,
Acts 14:6: They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:
Acts 14:7: And there they preached the gospel.
This pattern of driving out the apostles had become an expected event once the enemies felt their own sphere of influence had been greatly reduced by those turning towards the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ had a direct impact on the way these new believers in Christ lived their lives. They were now marked as Christians and they did not compromise their faith and they did not wish to return to their previous state of hopeless religiosity where salvation was never within reach. So the enemies of the cross had to take action to put a stop to the spread of the gospel chiefly propounded by Paul and Barnabas.
The plan was a combined force of the Jews with the Gentiles to assault Paul and Barnabas which included stoning after using them despitefully. This indicated that the unbelieving Jews had succeeded in their initial plot of waging a mind war on the saints. Christians had been demonised for quite a while now. The minds of these Gentiles were now evil affected against the believers of Christ. Initially, the Gentiles were not involved in the quarrels these Jews had with Paul and Barnabas and their followers. They were loosing followers to Paul and Barnabas continually and they could not stop them on their own. So they maligned Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles, especially those in authority. Public opinion was now unfavourable to Christians living in the city. The enemies were now ready to take action against Paul and Barnabas, the leaders of these Christians.
When the apostles found out their evil scheme, they left the city and went to other cities to preach the gospel. There was no point staying behind and taking on these enemies head on using brute force. Paul and Barnabas were fighting a very different warfare. (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:4&5) They were engaged in fighting a war over the hearts and minds of the people and not to defeat these enemies with brute force and engage in a violent confrontation with them. They did not insist on their rights to preach the gospel. They had never accused their persecutors for violating human rights for denying others to hear the gospel of Christ.
Persecution from these enemies would in fact push the gospel outward reaching the lost in other cities. This was the way the Lord showed the apostles their time was up with regards to their work in that city just like what the Lord told His disciples in the past: And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. (Luke 9:5) So they committed their work to the Lord and they moved on and preached to those where the gospel door was still open in other cities.
Acts 14:8: And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked:
Acts 14:9: The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
Acts 14:10: Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
Here over at Lystra a notable miracle took place. It was quite similar to what the apostle Peter did at the temple in Jerusalem many years ago. This man born a cripple was miraculously healed by Paul. He had never walked before and those men there knew the cripple. But that day when Paul arrived, this cripple’s life was changed. When Paul commanded him to stand upright on his feet, he did as told and began to leap and walk. It must have been an astonishing sight for those people there that day. Such miraculous healing had probably never happened before. Those Jews worshipping faithfully Sabbath after Sabbath could do nothing for this man. Their own folks were equally hopeless and helpless and they were of no help to this poor cripple. They were so accustomed to this cripple sitting or lying on the ground but now this man could stand upright moving about and look at them at face level. To expect a nonchalant and passive response would be out of question for the residents in the city.
This man was providentially born with a handicap and was placed there that day for Paul to come along to perform this miracle for the glory of God. For this man, Paul perceived him to have faith to be healed and he healed him immediately. It was an impromptu event and Paul did not send out invitations to those city folks to attend his healing crusade. This cripple was only listening to the preaching of Paul and looking at him. It was a wonderful occasion for Paul to authenticate his message with this miraculous healing that he was indeed sent by God to preach to them and tell them that Jesus Christ was their only way for salvation. If God could heal this crippled man, what more could God not do for them? Salvation, which was of the Jews, had now been opened to the Gentiles as well.
It should be noted that sometimes God would only heal those who have faith to be healed. This is not always the case though. The modern day healers usually blame those whom they fail to heal for their lack faith to be healed. This is ridiculous to say the least. Paul only healed this lame man when he perceived that he had faith to be healed. Paul would not perform this healing work on the man if he knew he did not have faith to be healed or it was not God’s will for this man to be healed. Paul would never allow any failed healing to occur and make a fool of himself and causing the unsaved to blaspheme God. So the modern day healers are nothing but scammers. They have failed in lacking spiritual perception and yet blamed it on those whom they fail to heal. How convenient! Paul and the other apostles had never failed to heal anyone and they had never blamed anyone that could not be healed to be due to their candidates’ lack of faith.
Acts 14:11: And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.
Acts 14:12: And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
Such exuberant response from the people was more than what Paul and Barnabas had bargained for. These superstitious folks attributed the miraculous healing to the false gods they had been conditioned to believe and worship instead of the power of the true and living God whom Paul and Barnabas preached. They thought their gods had finally arrived and visited them in the likeness of men. They called Barnabas Jupiter and Paul Mercurius. These Greeks indeed had been bewitched by their false Greek gods like the Egyptians of old. Of course the modern day Bible correctors would not believe these people were actually worshipping false gods where the planets were connected with these gods.
12 And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. (NKJV)
12Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. (NIV)
12And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. (NASB)
What is so surprising about idols worshippers worshipping the gods of the planets? There are many people who worship the moon god as well. Mid autumn festival would be a good time to admire the moon for the Chinese. Those rebellious Jews living under a theocracy of the true and living God could be found worshipping the planets too. Is it too farfetched for these Gentile pagans to be worshippers of the planetary host as well?
And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. (2 Kings 23:4&5)
Of course all these modern English Bibles will not be allowed to have the word “planet” to be found in this verse as well. These people always accuse the King James Bible to be having archaic words and they also claim that they are giving readers a Bible with updated English words that are easier to read and understand. Then why are they choosing to use these archaic names of Hermes and Zeus where Mercury and Jupiter are already in used in the Latin world where it is still relevant today? What are they up to? Are they trying to cover up something? Do they not know that there is a war going on up in the heavens? The angel Gabriel was hindered for twenty-one days by the forces of evil up in the heavens until he was set free by the arch angel Michael before he could to make his way to continue his mission to minister to Daniel on planet Earth.
Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. (Daniel 10:12&13)
Moreover, the heavens and the stars are also not clean and pure in the sight of Almighty God.
Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. (Job 15:15 & 25:5)
In addition, one day in the future when God judge the world, God will punish the host of the high ones and the kings on earth as two different categories of people.
And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. (Isaiah 24:18-23)
Apparently those pagans trying to offer sacrifices to their pagan gods of the planets had more spiritual discernment than the modern day Bible translators. They knew something was up there in the heavens. The apostle Paul also warned Christians about the reality of the spiritual warfare where spiritual wickedness in high places is one category to watch out for: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12) So it would be expected of these modern day Bible correctors to replace Jupiter and Mercury in Acts 14:12 with their own private interpretation even when all those English Bibles prior to the King James Bible tell the readers the truth concerning the implications of planets with regards to pagan worshippers who worshipped the false gods of their own imagination. By refusing to translate these false gods as Jupiter and Mercury, these modern day translators have restricted this spiritual truth to application in the past of the Greek world but Christians would do well to know that the God of the Bible wants to establish His people in the present truth where the Holy Bible is always ever relevant: Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. (2 Peter 1:12)
Acts 14:13: Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.
So these pagan worshippers were ready to offer sacrifice to their false god Jupiter whom they thought had visited them and performed this miracle on the cripple. This showed that these pagan Greeks were worshipping their false gods regularly and they expected a visitation from Jupiter as well. It was an occasion much anticipated and it would be an honour for them to honour this heavenly visitor whom they had been worshipping for so long.
The salvation message concerning the Lord Jesus Christ preached by Paul was quickly forgotten and the emphasis was now placed on the miraculous healing of that cripple where they were quick to attribute this to their false god. This was indeed a sad state of affair where these people could be so blind in the light of the preaching of the glorious gospel of Christ by the apostle Paul who also wrote to the believers in Corinth explaining the reason of unbelief of those who reject the gospel of Christ: But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Corinthians 4:3&4)
Acts 14:14: Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,
Acts 14:15: And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
Acts 14:16: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.
Acts 14:17: Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
Acts 14:18: And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.
It was unfortunate that the glorious healing of this cripple was turned into an occasion for these Gentiles to worship their false gods. These men were ready to offer sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas thinking that they were representatives of their false gods of the planets. Paul had to calm these people and show them that they were really men in the flesh like them. Paul told them he was actually preaching to them to turn away from such vanities to the true and living God who was the actual Creator of this world and not the gods of the planets. Paul further told them that God tolerated their ignorance and continued to send them blessings with food and gladness to bear witness of His goodness towards fallen men though steeped in superstition and ignorance. The victory that day was quickly turned into a mitigating plea to prevent the devil from taking advantage of the whole situation. So with much effort Paul managed to restrain these people from offering their sacrifice to them.
Though these people did not offer sacrifice to their false gods that day, they were far from convinced by Paul. The ground was not in the favour of Paul and Barnabas. None was reported to have turned to the Lord that day in spite of this amazing miraculous healing of this cripple from his mother’s womb. There was no time to be despondent and dejected for such an outcome. There was no guarantee that many would turn to the Lord every time when the gospel was preached even with miracles performed to authenticate these servants of the Most High God. What God expects from His servants is faithfulness and not results. These people had been warned and there would be no excuse on the day of reckoning. Notwithstanding, Paul and Barnabas did continue their ministry in this city and turned men unto the Lord and taught them as disciples were recorded to be around him when he was left for dead in the persecution that followed.
Acts 14:19: And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
Acts 14:20: Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
With these people restrained from offering sacrifices to their false gods, there might be unhappiness running high among some people. They became easy targets for the enemies of the cross to recruit for their malicious scheme to persecute Paul and Barnabas. Those Jews who failed to nail Paul and Barnabas at Antioch and Iconium finally came and continue to press on with their persecution of the servants of God. They managed to persuade these people who witnessed that great miracle performed on the cripple and turned them against Paul and Barnabas. It would be easy for these unbelieving Jews to contradict what Paul and Barnabas preached and did and set them up for the execution. So they stoned Paul and drew him out of the city thinking he was already dead.
Paul and Barnabas had been preaching the gospel of Christ in many cities and each time when faced with opposition and persecution, they moved on to elsewhere to continue their mission of evangelising the lost world. In the course of their work, they offended many unbelieving Jews and Gentiles who wanted them dead. The gospel of Christ does cause offence. Paul aptly told those Christians at Galatia in danger of returning to salvation by works: And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. (Galatians 5:11) That was the fundamental reason why Paul was persecuted because he refused to go along with the Jews in their blindness in rejecting their Messiah and His perfect sacrifice on the cross of Calvary for sinners in this world.
So finally Paul had to experience violence inflicted by these enemies of the gospel of Christ. Previously, he was just chased out of their cities and now he was being put to death for faithfully preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Years ago during Paul’s conversion, his suffering for the Lord was already told to one disciple: But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. (Acts 9:15&16) Hence recorded here was Paul’s first encounter of physical violence and death was just a breath away. The great things Paul had to suffer were not sufficiently great enough yet and this would not be the end of his suffering. His time was not yet up to report to heaven for his work for the Lord done on this earth. His persecutors thought he was dead and perhaps he was as Paul recalled an incident in which he was caught up to the third heaven.
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)
What Paul saw in the third heaven was indeed beyond description. Was it during this occasion of death or near death experience Paul caught this vision? If it was, it must have been a great disappointment for him for it was recorded that he rose up from the ground. Could it be a resurrection? When he got up after that stoning incident with his body dumped outside the city where his enemies had no intention to give him a proper burial, he found disciples of Christ gathered around him. Though there was no mention of anyone turning to the Lord during that miraculous healing of the cripple, there were disciples with Paul over here. So Paul and Barnabas were successful in the mission and they had some fruits in this city as well.
However, surprise of all surprises, Paul went back into the city when he got up from the ground. He was just stoned with his body left outside the city but when he recovered, he went back into that city. Was he trying to look for his tormentors and ensure that they do a good job to make sure they would really stone him to death this time? His body could now be raking with pains and horrible injuries. His persecutors thought he was dead and that was why they dumped him outside the city. He would probably need to drag his tired and painful frame back into the place of his stoning. Paul must have been exceedingly brave or brutally suicidal to venture back into the city where he was stoned a while ago. In the past when face with persecution he would just leave the city and move to the next city. The time had now come where he was no longer afraid of what his enemies could do to him. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) Perhaps what he saw about the third heaven changed all that.
There was no mention of Barnabas during this incident when Paul was stoned. Paul could be alone when his enemies caught up with him otherwise Barnabas could share the same fate Paul experienced not too long ago. So Paul went back into the city and departed the following day to Derbe with Barnabas to continue his preaching ministry. It would always be good to have a partner in the ministry. Travelling alone could be treacherous and the stoning incident of Paul being alone would be a good reminder of the danger face by missionaries doing the Lord’s work in a foreign land. At this point, Paul and Barnabas were about to complete half of their missionary trip and were ready to return to their home church at Antioch in Syria.
Acts 14:21: And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
Acts 14:22: Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Paul and Barnabas were still in a city of Lycaonia. Having preached at the city of Derbe and establishing believers in Christ by teaching many, they were on a return journey back to their home church. Paul and Barnabas always made it a point to teach those converts who turned to the Lord. This was the only way to establish them as Paul and Barnabas could not be stationed with them over a long term on a permanent basis. These disciples had to learn fast and grow in the Lord and take on the responsibility to govern themselves to continue in the grace of the Lord.
Thus Paul and Barnabas returned to those cities where they had ministered earlier including the city at Lystra where Paul was stoned to strengthen the disciples as established churches. Their return trip was for the purpose of confirming those disciples in the Lord and to exhort them to continue in the faith. These disciples saw first hand what their faith brought them where persecution was their portion on this narrow gospel road. Entrance into the Kingdom of God is often paved with a road of tribulation for those willing to turn to Christ who already told His disciples: These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
The modern day false prophets and preachers who promise their converts a life of ease and prosperity are preaching another gospel. These false prophets usually enrich themselves through crafty schemes by promising their followers riches if they give much to their church and God would prosper them abundantly. They themselves were actually prospered abundantly with fat pay cheques from the giving of these covetous followers hoping to become rich by their giving thinking that God owed it to them. They foolishly believe what their false prophets teach them by taking the promises of God out of context where they do not meet the conditions for God to bless them. Poverty and tribulation for these people would be regarded as out of the will of God. As such, these followers have nothing in common with the early days Christians who took their faith in Christ seriously and lived their lives soberly.
Acts 14:23: And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
So during this missionary trip, Paul and Barnabas not only preached the gospel to win the lost, they also taught these converts and ordained elders among them to take care of their respective churches in every city. They did not ordain any pastors; they ordained mature men who had grown in the Lord as elders to be caretakers of these churches. These elders had the responsibility to feed the flock in the absence of Paul and Barnabas and watch over the flock of the Lord. No churches were led by one man called a pastor or senior pastor. The elders shared the responsibility to take care of the church. The church would never fall into a crisis of succession when a one-man pastor becomes incapacitated when elders are in charge of running the church. More elders would be ordained into the ministry to ensure the church continues to function as these elders cannot be with the church forever due to sickness or leaving home to be with the Lord.
Ordaining elders is not a small matter as these elders have tremendous responsibilities to care for the flock of the Lord. Prayer and fasting cannot be ignored in such an important task of ordaining elders to become leaders of the church. Paul and Barnabas then commended these men to the Lord to lead and guide them in their duties and responsibilities as elders to know how to lead and guide God’s children in their churches. Years later, Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus to give them a list of qualifications before any man could be ordained as elders and deacons of churches. Installing leaders in churches is part of the work of church planting in foreign lands. Without sound and spiritual leadership, the church would fall.
Acts 14:24: And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
Acts 14:25: And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:
Acts 14:26: And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
Paul and Barnabas continued with their return trip and preached the gospel along the way. They eventually reached Perga where John Mark left them to return to Jerusalem earlier. This time, it was finally recorded that Paul and Barnabas preached in this city. Though no mention was made about their success in Perga, the gospel of Christ was preached this time where John Mark during the earlier trip could be a hindrance to their work there. Thus they went along and visited those churches they established and left them in the hands of elders to lead and guide those churches and they eventually reached their sending church at Antioch in Syria. This completes their first missionary foray on a longer term away from their home church at Antioch. Much had been accomplished for the Lord with souls saved and churches established now led by elders ordained into the ministry.
Acts 14:27: And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
Acts 14:28: And there they abode long time with the disciples.
This good trip was told to the brethren at the home church. No doubt there was great rejoicing where this was the first organised mission trip undertaken by a church to send men overseas on a long journey to establish churches elsewhere. It was indeed God who opened the door of faith to the Gentiles where the unbelieving Jews rejected to their own peril. This first mission trip was undoubtedly a resounding success. Many God called men would subsequently copy such endeavours to plant the gospel flag on foreign soil and claim territories still held by Satan where sinners remained in darkness to continue in their ignorance of idol worship. When the Jews kept the light to themselves refusing to be a light to the Gentiles, the times had come for the whole world to see this true Light from heaven that lights every man in this world. (John 1:9)
There was now no turning back of the gospel clock. The Gentiles were now welcomed into the family of God in a scale never seen before. Having accomplished what they set out to do, Paul and Barnabas returned to their station in the church at Antioch and stayed with the disciples there for a long time. Their time spent in the home church would be fruitful to many disciples there and an encouragement to a multitude wishing to serve the Lord. Their courage and their sacrifices for the Lord during this first missionary trip had surely etched in the history of this sending church where many would be proud and honoured to be a member of this missionary minded church. The example of the church at Antioch indeed has become a beacon for many Bible believing churches striving their best to reach the lost with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.