After Peter’s story, it’s now back to Saul, who’s been on mission with Barnabas in Antioch for a whole year (11.25-6). Now as the Spirit guides them, they strike out to the Island of Cyprus.
There, as so often happens in Gospel ministry, they want to share the Good News, but find themselves dealing with opposition, and a very Satanic opposition. Elymas tries to keep the proconsul in the darkness of a Christless life, and his reward is that Paul now puts him into a blindness of sight (vv.8-12). And at that, the proconsul believes (v.12).
Paul and Barnabas next make their way deep into the province of Galatia, in modern-day Turkey. Luke records at great length Paul’s sermon, because he wants us to be sure that Paul’s gospel is exactly the same as Peter’s. His whole address exalts Christ as the fulfilment of the Scriptures, the Promised One in whom there is “this message of salvation” (v.26). At its heart is the innocent suffering and full vindication of the Christ in His death and resurrection (vv.26-31). Now exalted in His ascension, He is qualified to bring the forgiveness of sin (v.38).
This glorious news is also urgent news: gospel hearers must understand, and must respond (v.40). Many do want to take this message further. What happens next will be the course of much apostolic ministry, interest and outrage (vv.42-45). Still, Paul and Barnabas aren’t thrown by the opposition, not even when it gets worse (v.50). Their Saviour is now in glory, but was once held in derision: so they, and we today, must expect both opposition and saving responses to the Gospel. This is Gospel life. And to follow Jesus means joy and the Holy Spirit (v.52).
A Prayer to Pray
Lord of the Harvest, send me to those who need to hear about Jesus. Give me courage and perseverance in bringing Your truth. Make my heart tender to the lost, but strong in facing discouragement and opposition. Thankyou that Your Kingdom shall never end. Amen.