Have you ever moved away from your home to study or to work? How did it make you feel? Moving out of our comfort zone could be an adventure for some but for the majority, it is difficult and sometimes depressing.
Acts 13: 1-12 said that the Holy Spirit had called Barnabas and Saul (who was also called “Paul”) to be missionaries. They were to leave their church in Antioch and take the “good news” about Jesus to people who did not know Him. According to verse 3, how did the church at Antioch respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit? They obeyed. They sent Barnabas and Saul out.
According to verse 4, the first place Barnabas and Saul went to was Cyprus. Reading from Acts 4:36 we’ll know that this was the home province of Barnabas. Most likely he had relatives and friends living there. But rather than being welcomed, what did they encounter from a sorcerer named Elymas in verse 8? He tried to keep the local leader, the “proconsul” from believing.
Why do you think Elymas opposed Barnabas and Saul? The Bible doesn’t say. But it might be the fear of losing his influence. Demonic deception? Have you ever-experienced opposition like this before when you tried to share with others about Jesus?
How did Saul (Paul) deal with that situation according to verses 9-11? Paul rebuked Elymas and he became blind for a time!
How did this affect the proconsul according to verse 12? He put his faith in Jesus and was saved!
When people oppose the sharing about Jesus, do you think the direct confrontation (like Paul used) is appropriate? Is it better to use a gentler approach? It depends on the situation. We must be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit & obey Him!
How would you feel if God called you to go somewhere where the followers of Jesus are persecuted? Or maybe the Holy Spirit isn’t leading you to go overseas, but He is telling you to share with your neighbors and friends. Are we obeying what He has already told us to do? What will you do this week?
Pray: Ask God to speak to us in a way we can clearly understand. And that we will obey what He tells us to do about taking the “good news” to people from other countries. Pray for opportunities to share about Jesus with influential people you know who are like the proconsul or like Elymas the sorcerer.
Go: To whom will you talk with about Jesus tomorrow?