The church is beginning to develop very well outside of Jerusalem. More and more people are becoming followers of Jesus Christ and the spread of the church is well underway. Barnabas and Saul, who begins to be referred to as Paul in the passage, are called apart for missionary journeys. The believers in Antioch anoint them and send them with God's blessing.
First stop, Cyprus. They find the synagogue and being to teach about Jesus. The end result is many new believers and many Jewish leaders angry. It seems whenever the Good News of Jesus is taught during the early years there are two main responses, acceptance or anger. After the first teaching time, Barnabas and Paul are invited to return. When they return almost the entire city comes to hear them. Can you imagine? It does not say that the Jews, or the God fearing Gentiles, no everyone. The religious people get jealous because they have never had that kind of turn out. With this trip to Cyprus, Paul and Barnabas declare game on, and the word of God is on the move throughout the provinces of Asia. A mighty move of God is borne out of proclamation, conviction and anger.
In our day and age we long to see this move. Our challenge is found in the fact that a third response to the Gospel has become very prevalent, apathy. When Christ is proclaimed some people become followers, others get mad or angry, while the vast majority seem to pass it off as something nice, but not really important. Is it because people are not spiritually minded anymore? Not even close. In fact people are seeking for something spiritual even more than ever, just look at the best selling books and movies. I wonder if it is because those who would claim to be "Christian" do not offer anything different from what is already experienced. People are seeking and all they are finding in most Christian circles is more of the same.
Paul and Barnabas, call people from the same old and into something new. Not only with their words but with the actions. When was the last time someone either decided to follow Jesus, or got angry because of your words and actions in Christ? When was the last time people saw little to no difference between you and the life they are currently living?
I pray the church will rise up and be the Gospel in ways that will move people from a comfortable apathy. May the church take our lead from Paul and the other early believers and live in such a way that people are drawn to Christ. may we join the mission or spreading the Good News across the land with words and actions.