Acts 13 1-12 The Holy Spirit spoke to the believers in Antioch and told them to set apart Barnabas and Saul for a special work or mission. The traveled to Salamis and preached Jesus in the synagogues along with Mark. They encountered a magician named Bar-Jesus who opposed their mission, especially to his friend, Sergius Paulus, a proconsul of Rome that Paul was trying to convert. Saul, from now on called Paul, saw right through the man by means of the Holy Spirit and rebuked him for making crooked the straight paths of the Lord by misleading the Jews. The Lord caused the magician to become blind, and by this, the proconsul, Sergius, believed in Paul’s message.
Notes: From this chapter to the end of the book, the story focuses on Paul and his mission to convert the Gentiles for Christ.
Acts 13 13-41 When they arrived in Perga, Mark left them (abandoned them) and went back to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas entered a synagogue in Antioch in Pisidia (in modern Turkey), not the Antioch in Syria mentioned in the previous chapters. After the reading, Paul was asked by the leaders if they had any words of encouragement to share. Paul, like Steven, rehashed Jewish history and proclaimed that Jesus is their Messiah. Paul talked about their slavery in Egypt, their 40 year wandering in the wilderness, entering the Promised Land, the time of the Judges, then their first King, Saul. He then talks about King David, who was chosen by God because David’s heart was right before God, and by this man’s (David) offspring came Jesus, the promised Savior. Paul mentioned how John the Baptist testified about Jesus that He was the One. Paul said that he was chosen to speak this message of truth. He told them that the leaders in Jerusalem were ignorant that Jesus was their Messiah and put him to death, but that God raised Jesus from the dead, and later appeared to many of His followers that are now His witnesses. Paul quotes scriptures to back up his claim that Jesus is the promised Messiah, especially in regards to his resurrection from the dead. Paul concludes that through Jesus, forgiveness of sins is made possible to all those that believe.
Notes: Keeping the law of Moses did not free anyone from their sins (cf. Rom. 3:28; 1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 2:16; 3:11; Phil. 3:9). But the atoning death of Jesus completely satisfied the demands of God’s law, making forgiveness of all sins available to all who believe (Gal. 3:16; Col. 2:13–14). Only the forgiveness Christ offers can free people from their sins (Rom. 3:20, 22).
Acts 13 42-52 The Jews begged Paul to return the following Sabbath and continue speaking more about these matters. Many Jews and Gentile converts believed in Paul’s message. The following Sabbath, practically the whole city turned out to hear Paul speak. The Jews who did not believe Paul’s message were jealous of the large gathering and began to speak evil about Paul and his message. Paul simply said that they, being rightly the first who should hear the word of God (being Jews), did not deserve to hear anymore because they rejected the message, and that for now on would speak only to the Gentiles. Many Gentiles believed the message and were saved, and the word of God spread. The Jews however incited the leaders of the city to persecute Paul and Barnabas and drove them out of the city where they instead entered the city of Iconium. The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.