After Paul leaves Perga, his company arrives in Antioch in Pisidia (a different Antioch than the great Syrian city). Soon their ministry to the Gentiles spreads throughout this entire region. Such success brought much consternation to a number of Jews.
In every synagogue and Gentile gathering, Paul takes every opportunity to boldly proclaim the Gospel. His powerful proclamation of the Word excites much joy and many conversions among some. Others are enraged by his message and frank approach.
Ministering to Gentiles ever proves to be an exciting endeavor: in Lyconium, Paul is mistaken for Hermes and Barnabas for Zeus and only with great difficulty do they convince them not to offer sacrifice on their behalf.
Paul’s adversaries in each city tend to be Non-Christian Jews and Judaizers, those Christians who say circumcision is necessary for salvation. The issue of circumcising Christians becomes a hot-button issue, and it is eventually addressed by the Council of Jerusalem. At this council the early Church rules that Gentile Christians must abstain from eating meat with blood in it, engaging in fornication, and practicing any type of idolatry. After attending this council, Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch.
From Antioch, Barnabas asks Paul to join him in a visit to all the churches they had planted on their first Missionary Journey. The two argue whether or not to bring John Mark on the journey, and part company over the issue. Paul and Silas then begin the Second Missionary Journey, picking up key disciples like Timothy as they travel.
When the Holy Spirit prevents Paul from entering the Roman province of Asia, he journeys to Europe. It is during this period that the Gospel first reaches the major metropolitan cities of Corinth and Ephesus. It is at this time that he meets Priscilla and Aquilla. He also incites even more negative reaction from the Jews.
His ministry becomes increasingly dynamic during the Second Missionary journey. With the exception of Athens, it seems that the larger the city he enters, the greater the fruit. Possessing orthodox theology, awe-inspiring miracles, deep learning and mature pastoral skills, he is nothing short of a marvel. This missionary-statesman inaugurates a new chapter in Christianity.
Music: Boismortier’s Sonata 2 in E Minor – Affettuoso, from the album ‘Six Sonatas for Flute and Violin – Opus 51 – Boismortier’ performed by Duo de Bois. www.magnatune.com