Year 2 Day 15
Read - Acts 13v1-3
Message - Scott Woodburn
As Acts 13 begins the scene moves away from Peter and Jerusalem to Antioch. The remains of Antioch are in modern day Turkey and in the time of Acts is was an incredibly important city. The church there was strong with prophets and teachers (v1). Teachers would preach the word of God instructing Christians and passing on the Apostolic teaching. Prophets on the other hand would deliver more spontaneous messages from the Lord.
Some of these prophets and teachers are named in Luke's account. There is Joseph whose nickname is Barnabas which means "son of encouragement". There is Simeon called "Niger " which means black. It would seem that Simeon and Lucius were Africans, hailing from Cyrene which is in present day Libya. Indeed some think that this Simeon may very well have been the famous Simon of Cyrene who carried the Lord's cross. There was Manaen who was a lifelong friend of Herod the Tetrarch and therefore a man of high social standing.
Just a quick note on Herod. It was Herod the Great who was on the throne at the birth of Christ. When he died his kingdom was split into four with a quarter of the kingdom going to each of his three sons and the final quarter going to Herod the Great's sister. One of those sons was called Herod Antipas also called Herod the Tetrarch (tetrarch means "four rulers"). Manaen was raised with Herod the Tetrarch and it was this Herod who Jesus called a fox (Luke 13v32). Finally, the Herod in Acts 12 was Herod Agrippa the First, the grandson of Herod the Great.
Saul was also part of the team in Antioch and after a time of worship, fasting and prayer the Holy Spirit made it clear that Barnabas and Saul were to set apart for the work of the Lord (v2). Just as this group in Antioch was made up up men from all corners of society and the earth, so too the Gospel was to be preached everywhere. Barnabas and Saul would take the good news to the Gentiles and many would be saved.
Notice that the Gospel work was accompanied by much fasting and prayer. I think we've lost sight of this in the modern church. The work does not belong to us, it belongs to the Lord. No one is saved by our talent, but by the Lord. No one is strong enough for the work, except by the Lord. Soon Barnabas and Saul would leave Antioch and endure much for the sake of the Gospel.
Brothers and sisters, may I assume we wish to see the lost won for Christ? If so may we call earnestly upon the Lord. May he raise up preachers like Barnabas and Saul and may the nations hear of the cross of Christ once more.
Q29 How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ? We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.