The Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. – Acts 13:2b-3
Scripture reading: Acts 13:1-3
On Pentecost, the converts to Christianity were mostly Jews from the Dispersion. They returned home and announced the Good News among their communities. In Antioch, a major cosmopolitan centre for more than 300 years, it was natural for Christians to share the Gospel with their Gentile neighbors. Both Barnabas and Saul were familiar with Greek and Hebrew and the Old Testament Scriptures. The Holy Spirit instructed the Church to commission them “for the work to which He had called them.” The call comes from God; the Church confirms the call by ordaining and sending Paul and Barnabas out as missionaries. Leaders at the church in Antioch, after fasting and praying, “laid their hands on them and sent them off.” That marked the beginning of the First Missionary Journey, recorded in Chapters 13 and 14 of Acts. Saul and Barnabas labored first on the island of Cyprus and continued their mission in the mainland of Asia Minor.
“From Attalia, they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:26,27).
In Paul’s days, the mission field was mostly situated within the Roman Empire; Roman roads and Roman Peace facilitated travel. Nowadays, the entire world has become our mission field! Where freedom is curtailed, we transcend the obstacle, through the Internet.
Suggestions for prayer
Missionaries laboring in many parts of the world face many obstacles; ask the Lord to protect them and enable them to continue in their service of the One Who has “All authority in heaven and on earth.”
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”