Thoughts for the Day

Friday, 5th May 2023: The goal of history

Paul Jesus Christ Acts 13 Barnabas Mission

Reading : Verses from Acts, Chapter 13

Paul's First Missionary Journey

My brothers, you descendants of Abraham’s family, and others who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. Because the residents of Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize him or understand the words of the prophets that are read every sabbath, they fulfilled those words by condemning him. Even though they found no cause for a sentence of death, they asked Pilate to have him killed. When they had carried out everything that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead; and for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, and they are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm,

“You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.”

(lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Paul has travelled from Paphos the then capital of Cyprus, to Perga in south-west Turkey and then on to Pisidian Antioch on his first missionary journey. But this simple account ignores the awful journey they must have had, for Pisidian Antioch stood on a plateau some 3,600 feet above sea-level. To get to it Paul and Barnabas would have had to cross the Taurus range of mountains by one of the hardest roads in Asia Minor, a road which was also notorious for robbers and brigands. Having arrived in Pisidian Antioch, Paul attends the synagogue on the sabbath as was his custom. The leaders of the synagogue invite him or any of his party to speak if they have "any word of exhortation for the people"

Here, in Acts 13 we have the only full account of one of Paul's sermons, as he explains how God's work in history leads to Jesus. He starts with the prophets and the covenant made with God and continues to tell them about Jesus. He steadily works towards the Resurrection in his talk, because as one theologian, says: "Belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is essential to salvation, because a dead Saviour can save no man." This is the good news for all who believe, but bad news for those who refuse to believe.


we thank You for the work
of Paul and Barnabas
as well as other missionaries
over the centuries.
May their courage and constancy
encourage those who teach and preach
the Gospel message today,
and may we be inspired to
speak the Good News of Jesus Christ
to those we know.

Follow Up Thoughts

If you would like to look at an article on the two different places named Antioch and Pisidian Antioch, the latter of which Paul visited on his First Missionary Journey, this is useful:

Or sing or listen to this hymns produced by St Lawrence Church, Church:

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