Acts 12: 25, 13: 1 – 3 Barnabas and Saul sent off
When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark. Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) 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.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they paced their hands on them and sent them off.
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In Acts 11: 27 – 30, we read how the disciples in Antioch wanted to send a gift to the church in Jerusalem. They had heard how the church there was suffering because of a famine. Barnabas and Saul were charged with the safe delivery of this gift. This is the mission referred to in Acts 12: 25. “When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem.”
They brought with them John, also called Mark. We have already been introduced to John Mark in the story of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison (Acts 12: 12). As a result, we know that his mother, Mary, was a significant figure in the church in Jerusalem. We can also infer that John Mark would have known St Peter, because it was to Mary’s house that Peter went first to let James and the other brothers and sisters know that he had been freed. What a good writer St Luke was!
During the period after their return, Barnabas and Saul were with the others “worshipping the Lord and fasting”. This passage is making demands on me. I shall set aside regular time devoted to worship. I shall read about the purpose of fasting; I don’t fast currently.
As they worshipped, the brothers and sisters were listening expectantly for the voice of the Holy Spirit. Sure enough, the Spirit spoke to them and said: “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
They were obedient. They fasted and prayed, placed their hands on them, and sent them off.
I wonder if the Great Commission was in their minds as they left?
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19 – 20)
Thank you for your love for me. Please help me to love and worship you as well as I can.
In Jesus’ name, Amen