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Antioch of Syria
Brief Overview of Paul's Visit to Antioch of Syria in His First Missionary Journey
The Word of God grew and multiplied and also much persecution. Many of the
disciples were driven from Jerusalem and the city of Antioch in Syria was
gaining importance in the early church. When this was reported at Jerusalem,
Barnabas was sent to Antioch for a special mission. He sought Saul (later called
Paul) in the city of Tarsus and Saul returned with Barnabas to Antioch. Many
great things were happening at Antioch and in this city the disciples of Jesus
were first called "Christians".
While Barnabas and Saul were evangelizing in Antioch certain prophets came down from Jerusalem. One of them, named Agabus, announced that a time of famine was about to occur (probably 46 A.D.). They prepared for the famine and during this time and the Christians at Antioch sent "a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders" (Acts 11:22-30). After this Saul and Barnabas returned to Antioch and brought with them another helper, John, whose surname was Mark (Mark 12:25).
Later Barnabas and some other prophets and teachers received a Word from the Lord, "Now separate to Me, Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them". So the disciples in Antioch "fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away" They began their missionary journey and headed for the port in Seleucia to set sail from Syria.
Gal 4:4 "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His
Son, born of a woman, born under the law"
There is no doubt in what the Word of the Lord says, that Jesus came, "in the fullness of time." Politically, intellectually, morally, and everything else in the Graeco-Roman world was ready for the message of the gospel. One note worth mentioning is that in the gentile world, it is told, there was an expectation of a great One who about this time would come from Judaea (Tacitus, History v. 13; Suetonius, Vespas. 4).
When Jesus died on a Roman cross it was not the end but the beginning. His followers would spread a message called the "gospel" meaning good news starting in Jerusalem and spreading to the farthest parts of the known world. Their message was:
Jesus, a lowly Jewish carpenter from the despised city of Nazareth, was rejected by His own Jewish nation and crucified by the Roman governor was indeed the Messiah and the Savior of mankind, who rose from the dead and anyone who would accept Him would be forgiven of all sins and would rise with Him in glory.
Those who spread the message were mostly Jews and were commanded by the Lord to go to the Jewish brethren first and then to the gentiles. When they entered Jewish synagogues they were scorned and persecuted by most of the Jews, and even the Greco-Roman cultures referred to their message as "superstitious rabble." Yet the Book of Acts reveals that the message about Jesus Christ spread to all who of those who had open hearts throughout the whole Mediterranean world and, as Jesus had promised, the Holy Spirit entered hearts and lives.
Around 48 AD, in the springtime, Paul and his companions Barnabas and Mark were called on a mission by the Holy Spirit and sent out by the church in Antioch. This would be the first of Paul's Missionary Journey's. In his missions he preaches the Word, performs many miracles, makes many disciples and raises up elders for the new Churches. He is also heavily persecuted, yet his life and ministry is one that has set an awesome example of dedication and courage for all to remember. You can look at the Map to trace the route of their first church-planting campaign.
The Story of the Bible
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