ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
There were at Antioch
– in the Church which was there –
prophets and teachers:
Barnabas, Symeon known as Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod, and Saul.
On one occasion while they were celebrating the Lord and fasting,
the Holy Spirit said to them,
“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul to do the work for which I have called them.”
So, after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
These then, sent by the Holy Spirit,
went down to the port of Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus.
Upon their arrival in Salamis they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogue;
John was with them as an assistant.
They travelled over the whole island as far as Paphos
where they met a certain magician named Bar-Jesus, a Jewish false prophet who lived with the governor Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man.
He had summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God.
But they were opposed by the Elymas
(that is, the magician)
who tried to turn the governor from the faith.
Then Saul, also known as Paul,
full of Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said,
“You son of the devil,
full of all kinds of deceit and enemy of all that is right!
Will you never stop perverting the straight paths of the Lord?
Now the Lord’s hand is upon you;
you will become blind and for a time you will not see the light of day.”
At once a misty darkness came upon him,
and he groped about for someone to lead him by the hand.
The governor saw what had happened;
and was deeply impressed by the teaching about the Lord.
From Paphos, Paul and his companions set sail and came to Perga in Pamphylia.
There John left them and returned to Jerusalem while they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia.
On the Sabbath day they entered the synagogue and sat down.
After the reading of the Law and the Prophets is, the officials of the synagogue sent this message to them,
“Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the assembly, please speak up.”
So Paul arose, motioned to them for silence and began,
“Fellow Israelites and also all you who fear God, listen.
The God of our people Israel chose our ancestors,
and after he had made them increase during their stay in Egypt,
he led them out by powerful deeds.
For forty years he fed them in the desert,
and after he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan,
he gave them their land as an inheritance.
All this took four hundred and fifty years.
After that, he gave them Judges until Samuel the prophet.
Then they asked for a king and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, and he was king for forty years.
After that time, God removed him and raised up David as king,
to whom he bore witness saying:
I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will do all I want him to do.
It is from the descendants of David that God has now raised up the promised saviour of Israel, Jesus.
Before he appeared,
John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for all the people of Israel.
As John was ending his life’s work, he said:
‘I am not what you think I am, for after me another one is coming whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.’
Brothers, children and descendants of Abraham, and you also who fear God,
it is to you that this message of salvation has been sent.
It is a fact that the inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognise Jesus.
Yet in condemning him, they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath but not understood.
Even though they found no charge against him that deserved death, they asked Pilate to have him executed.
And after they had carried out all that had been written concerning him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days thereafter he showed himself to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.
They have now become his witnesses before the people.
We ourselves announce to you this Good News:
All that God promised our ancestors,
he has fulfilled for us, their descendants,
by raising Jesus, according to what is written in the second psalm:
You are my Son today I have begotten you.
On raising him from the dead so that he would never know the decay of death,
God fulfilled his promise:
I will give you the holy blessings,
the sure ones, that I kept for David.
Moreover, in another place it is said:
You will not allow your holy one to suffer corruption.
Now David was subjected to corruption,
for he died and was laid beside his ancestors after having served God’s purpose in his own time.
But the one God raised up
– Jesus –
did not know corruption.
you have forgiveness of sins,
and this is our good news.
Whoever believes in him is freed of everything
from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.
Now watch out lest what was said by the prophet happen to you:
Take care, you cynics;
be amazed and disappear!
For I am about to do something in your days which you would never believe even if you had been told”
As Paul and Barnabas withdrew,
they were invited to speak again on the same subject the following Sabbath.
After that, when the assembly broke up,
many Jews and devout God-fearing people followed them
and to these they spoke, urging them to hold fast to the grace of God.
The following Sabbath almost the entire city gathered to listen to Paul, who spoke a fairly long time about the Lord.
But the presence of such a crowd made the Jews jealous.
So they began to oppose with insults whatever Paul said.
Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out firmly, saying,
“It was necessary that God’s word be first proclaimed to you,
but since you now reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life,
we must turn to non-Jewish people.
For thus we were commanded by the Lord:
I have set you as a light to the pagan nations, so that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Those who were not Jews rejoiced when they heard this and praised the message of the Lord,
and all those destined for everlasting life believed in it. Thus the Word spread throughout the whole region.
Some of the Jews, however,
incited God-fearing women of the upper class and the leading men of the city, as well,
and stirred up an intense persecution against
Paul and Barnabas.
Finally they had them expelled from their region.
The apostles shook the dust from their feet in protest against this people
and went to Iconium,
leaving the disciples filled with joy and Holy Spirit.