Acts  ◦   Chapter 13

1Amongst those loyal to Jesus in Antioch were God's spokespersons and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (also called the Black), Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who was raised with Herod the tetrarch), and Saul.2While they were fasting and working together for the Lord, the Holy Spirit said, "Dedicate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work that I have assigned them."3So after fasting and talking with God, they laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.

4On the mission directed by the Holy Spirit, the two of them went down to Seleucia and caught a ship to Cyprus.5Upon arriving at Salamis, they proclaimed the truth of God's Remedy in the Jewish synagogues. John accompanied them as their assistant.

6They traveled across the entire island, arriving at Paphos. There they encountered a spiritual quack–a person who claimed to speak for God but who misrepresented God and confused the mind. His name was Bar-Jesus,7and he was an advisor to the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul was a wise man, open-minded and intent on examining the evidence for himself. So he sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the truth about the Remedy.8But the spiritual quack, Mr. Illumination (for that is what his name means), worked against them, trying to confuse the proconsul and prevent him from partaking of the Remedy and trusting in Jesus.9Then Saul, who was also known as Paul, empowered by the Holy Spirit, looked directly at Mr. Illumination and said,10"You are a true son of Satan, an enemy of light and truth! Rather than illuminating others, you obstruct the truth with lies. Will you ever stop misrepresenting God?11Now God's power will come over you and reveal the truth: You are no illuminator; you are spiritually blind, so now you will be physically blind, and for a while you won't even be able to see sunlight." Immediately his vision became cloudy and he began groping about. Rather than leading others, he needed someone to lead him by the hand.

12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he accepted the Remedy and was transformed by the truth about Jesus.

13Paul and his friends left Paphos and sailed to Perga in Pamphylia. John left them there and returned to Jerusalem.14From Perga they traveled to Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath they went to the synagogue and sat down.15The worship leader, after reading the Bible passage for the day, said to them, "Brothers, if you have a message that would encourage the people, please share it with us."

16Paul stood up, and motioning with his hands for silence, said: "People of Israel and other friends who love and adore God, hear me!17The God of Israel chose our ancestors for his purpose. During their sojourn in Egypt, he blessed them, and with great power he led them out of that country.18He patiently took care of them for forty years in the desert,19and then removed the seven nations that stood as obstacles in Canaan and gave the land to his people as their staging ground.20All of this took about four hundred and fifty years to accomplish. Once in Canaan, God gave them judges until the time of his spokesman Samuel.

21"It was then that the people demanded a king, and God chose Saul, son of Kish, from the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled for forty years.22God then removed the family of Saul from office and made David their king. And God testifies about David, saying, 'I have examined David, son of Jesse, and his heart is renewed to be like my own; he will fulfill my plan.'

23"And it is from David's descendants that God has accomplished his plan to save the world by bringing Jesus — the Savior — just as he promised.24Before Jesus began his public ministry, John appealed to all Israel to prepare their hearts for his arrival and demonstrate it through symbolic immersion in water.25As John's work was nearing completion, he declared publicly: 'Do you think I am the promised One? I am not the promised One. Absolutely not! He comes after me, and I am not even worthy to untie his shoes.'

26"Fellow Israelites and other friends who love and adore God, it is to us that this Remedy–the truth that heals and restores–has been given.27The people living in Jerusalem, along with the leaders of the church and the city, did not recognize Jesus as Savior; but even in their rejection and condemnation of him, they fulfilled the words of God's spokespersons that are read each Sabbath.28Even though they had no basis for condemning him to death, they petitioned Pilate to have him executed.29And after they did to him all the Scripture foretold, he was taken from the cross and laid in a tomb.30But God raised him from death,31and he was seen over and over again–on different days and in different places–by people who traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem and thus knew him very well. These people continue to witness to our people that he is alive.

32"Now, we are here to bring you the good news: The Remedy which God promised our fathers33he has now provided for us–their descendants–by raising Jesus from the dead, exactly as the second Psalm says, 'You are my Son; today my Fatherhood to you has become known.'

34"The reality that he arose from the dead in a perfected humanity, never again to be tainted with death, is confirmed in this Scripture: 'I will give you holiness — the Remedy promised to David.'

35"And it is further confirmed in the Scripture: 'You will not allow your Remedy to decay in the grave.'

36"King David fulfilled God's mission for his life in his own generation and then fell asleep in death. He was buried with his family, and his body decayed.37But the Remedy–the one whom God raised from the dead–did not decay.

38"So, my dear friends, I want you to understand that it is through Jesus that sinfulness in our hearts remits and we are restored to God's original ideal.39Through what he achieved, every person who trusts him is healed and set right from every defect of character that the diagnostic code, given through Moses, could not fix.40So be very careful that what God's spokespersons have predicted does not happen to you:41'Look, you who resist truth, be amazed and vanish, for I am going to work out something in your days that you will refuse to believe, even when someone explains it to you.'"

42When Paul and Barnabas were leaving the worship service, the people were so moved that they invited them to speak more about these things the following Sabbath.43After the meeting, many of the Jews and sincere converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas who instructed them and encouraged to continue partaking of God's gracious Remedy.

44When the next Sabbath arrived, almost the entire city turned out to hear the truth about the Remedy of the Lord.45When the Jews who'd rejected the Remedy saw the size of the crowds, they became jealous and began to argue against what Paul said, and to slander him.

46So Paul and Barnabas fearlessly spoke the truth to them: "It was proper to share the Remedy with you, children of God's chosen helpers, first. But since you reject it, you judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life. We leave you to your choice and take the Remedy to the Gentiles.47For this is God's command to us: 'I have made you a shining light of truth to all peoples, that you may take the Remedy to the entire world.'"

48When the non-Jewish people heard this, they rejoiced, and all who trusted God and partook of the Remedy were set to receive eternal life.

49The truth about God spread throughout the entire region,50but the Jews who rejected the Remedy told lies to godly men and women who were leaders of the city, thus turning them against the truth. They also incited persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and had them driven from the region.51So, in an effort to demonstrate to the people that they were rejecting truth, Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from their feet as they left, and went to Iconium.52And the Lord's spiritual health-care team was filled with joy and empowered by the Holy Spirit.