24 April 2024

24 April 2024

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

From Acts 12:24-13:5, NRSV

From the many influential leaders amongst the church in Antioch, two were chosen to be “set apart” for particular work. It is worth noting the context in which they were chosen. They had not put themselves forward or been nominated but were chosen by the Holy Spirit whilst the community was worshipping and fasting. The reaction of the rest of the community is also interesting – there is no suggestion of jealousy or objection. Instead, the rest of the community prayed for Saul and Barnabas and laid their hands on them in blessing. Saul and Barnabas were then sent by the community to begin their mission. Although they did not always see eye to eye, the tireless work of these two men in spreading the gospel shows why they had been chosen and given their particular missions.


    • Why do you suppose the church at Antioch was so ready to accept the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the calling of Saul and Barnabas?
    • How can we ensure that the voice of the Holy Spirit is heard and received in our church communities?

Pray for those called to be missionaries and for the communities that support them.

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