The hardships of Apostle Paul’s trips:
Apostle Paul’s trips should serve as a lesson for us in serving with honesty, dedication, and working with God and the Holy Spirit, and as an example for this:
1-The means of transportation were extremely poor: primitive ships, walking on foot, and riding stock. Apostle Paul travelled for long distances and encountered lots of dangers that he had mentioned in his second message to the Corinthians, chapter 11 (please read).
2-Divers persecutions, which are:
- From the Jews in Thessalonians and Berea.
- From the atheists in Iconium.
- Resistance from within the church, like what happened in Korinthos.
3-The fork that is in the body which is believed to be blisters in his body, along with a poor eyesight in view of his old age.
In spite of all this, Paul was full of power, joy, growth, and growing fruits.
First preaching trip:
Summary of the trip
+ This trip was to Cyprus and Asia Minor.
+ This trip started out in Antioch (Syria) then Paul and Barnabas went to the harbor of Seleucia.
+ Then they went by sea to Cyprus and preached in the cities of Salamis and Bavlos.
+ Also by sea, they went to Asia Minor to the harbor of Perga, then deeper into the cities of:
1- Antioch (Pisidia) 2- Iconium 3- Derbe
The exiting route: Antioch (Syria) – the harbor of Seleucia – Cyprus (by sea) – the two cities of [Salamis – Paphos (sorcerer Barjesus)] - Asia Minor (by sea) to the harbor of Perga where John, called Mark was separated from them – Antioch (Pisidia) [where Apostle Paul gave a sermon in the synagogue] – Iconium (attempt to pelt Paul with stones Lystra (healing of the crippled) – Derbe.
* as for the return road: 1- Derbe 2- Lystra 3- Iconium 4-Antioch Pisidia 5- Perga 6- Attalia Harbor (by sea) 7- Iconium (Syria)
This is how the first trip ended, or rather the first stage of Apostle Paul’s first trip
(Acts, chapters 13 – 14)
The key events in the first trip
+ The start was the Holy Spirit which chose Barnabas and Saul for this service, this is how God chooses us to serve, work, and preach in order to work in the vine of the Lord Jesus (life of submission).
+ The City of Paphos (Cyprus) the sorcerer Barjesus resisted Paul and Barnabas in Acts (13:6-12) but we find that the Holy Spirit fills Paul so he reprimands the sorcerer and makes him blind so that the name of the Lord Jesus may be sanctified and the ruler believes in Christianity. This demonstrates that the devil cannot stand against God.
+ In Perga (Amphipolis) John, named Mark parted from them and returned to Jerusalem.
+ In Antioch (Pisidia) where Paul gave a sermon before the synagogue; this sermon explained the prophecies and how they came true in the Lord Christ, the series of events, and the Jews’ rejecting Him. At the end, he demonstrated the importance of the man’s faith in the Lord Christ and this sermon had lots of influence and was pretty convincing, to an extent that the people asked that they tell them these words again the following Saturday.
The people rejoiced with these words and the Lord’s word spread in all towns.
After all of this the Jews persecuted them and chased them out of their towns.
+ In Iconium they tried to stone them which was driven by the mean jealousy of the Jews (read).
+ In Lystra the crippled was healed in Acts (14:8-10).
Then the Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and stoned Paul in Acts (14:19).
Remarks on the First Phase
1-The Holy Spirit was guiding the service of Paul and Barnabas and was choosing for them what they should do (Acts 13: 2-4).
2- I saw the devil falling like a lightening (Luke 10:18).
By this the words of Christ the Lord had become true and we saw Paul conquering the devil impersonated by the sorcerer when he was filled with the Holy Spirit for Satan cannot stand up to the word of God and its servants.
3-Apostle Paul’s sermon in Antioch Pisidia was also guided by the Holy Spirit so it was strong and influential.
4-Apostle Paul suffered a lot for the sake of service and preaching, as the Jews stoned him in Lystra and thought he had died … but he was carrying his cross joyfully while putting before him all the time the love of the Christ!
Jerusalem synagogue (chapter 15)
Reasons of convening of Jerusalem Synagogue:
1- The baptized Jews’ tenacity on the Jewish code.
2- The Jews’ obligating the nations to get circumcised and abstain from eating food that had been prohibited in the Old Testament.
3- Paul and Barnabas’ discussion with the Jews and showing them how wrong this way of thinking is … they argued and were not convinced.
4- The Jews’ decision to lodge the matter to the heads of the church.
5- Antioch church’s delegation of some brothers along with Paul and Barnabas to discuss the matter in Jerusalem.
The danger of convening the Synagogue:
- Either matters would have been hard for the nations and close the door of faith to them, asking everybody to proceed through Judaism (i.e. abide by the Jewish rituals first before believing in the Christ)
- Or all abidance by the Jewish law would have been cancelled while deeming believing in the Christ to be enough … considering that such talk enrages some Christians of Jewish origins and they might consider that the apostles were being negligent as to the right faith… which should have resulted in a division within the church…!
Heading of the Jerusalem Synagogue:
- It was assumed by James, son of Alphaeus the bishop of Jerusalem (the Lord Christ’s cousin and the author of James’ letters).
Decision of the Jerusalem Synagogue (chapter 15:23:29)
“We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.Farewell”
The Synagogue sent the decision with the two apostles Paul and Barnabas and sent Judas and Sila with them to confirm to the churches the opinion pronounced by the Jerusalem Synagogue.