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CHAPTER FOUR

FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY

 

FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY Act 13-14

48 A.D.
From Antioch Paul, Barnabas and John Mark begin their first journey.
They travel to Cypress (Cyprus) and Perga.
They took John Mark to assist them


THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS

IN THE SYNAGOGUES AT SALAMIS... Ac 13:5

Barnabas and Paul preached the word of God

AT PAPHOS
The encounter with a false prophet Bar-Jesus Elymas and conversion of Sergius Paulus the ProConsul - Ac 13:6-11

From now on Luke uses the name Paul instead of Saul

THE REGIONS OF PAMPHYLIA, PISIDIA, AND LYCAONIA (46-47 A.D.)

AT PERGA of Pamphylia
John Mark leaves Paul and Barnabas at Perga and returns to Jerusalem (see Acts 13:13).
After Perga Paul and Barnabas journey to Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe.

AT ANTIOCH OF PISIDIA...
Paul's sermon in the synagogue - Ac 13:14-41
Rejection by the Jews and reception by the Gentiles - Ac 13:42-49
Expulsion by the Jews - Ac 13:50-52

AT ICONIUM.
Paul and his companions stayed "a long time" here
The city eventually became divided between the Jews and the apostles, and an attempt to stone them forced Paul and his companions to flee to Lystra and Derbe - Ac 14:4-7
Paul heals a lame man - Ac 14:8-18
Jews from Antioch and Iconium persuade the multitude to stone Paul - Ac 14:19-20; 2Co 11:25

AT DERBE Ac 14:21a

AT LYSTRA
Agrippa II made king of Chaleis.

49 A.D.
RESIDING IN ANTIOCH OF SYRIA
(48-49 A.D.)
Paul and Barnabas go back and return to Antioch.
Cumanus made procurator of Judaea

 

Paul and Barnabas Ordained for the Mission among the Gentiles at Antioch by the representatives of the Churches in Roman Empire.

Act 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia.

sailing to Cyprus (Act 13:4).

 

MARK THE EVANGELIST


joined Paul and Barnabas in Salamis

John Mark

John Mark was born in the Pentapolis or Qairawan (Now Tunisia or Libya according to other sources) approximately 15 years after the birth of Jesus. His mother Mary (Act 12:12) moved to Jerusalem where she had a home which became the meeting place of Christians during the persecution soon after the resurrection of Jesus. We should therefore expect him to be closely involved with the ministry of Jesus and his passion. Most probably taking into the traditions of the authors of the period, Mark was the young man who "fled from them naked" at Gethsemane during the arrest of Jesus (Mark 14:51-52). Traditionally, Mark is said to be the man who carried water to the house where the Last Supper took place (Mark 14:13). Coptic Church tradition additionally states that Mark is the one who hosted the disciples in his house after the death of Jesus, into whose house the resurrected Jesus Christ came (John 20), and into whose house the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost. Mark is also believed to be one of the servants at the Marriage at Canaa who poured out the water that Jesus turned to wine (John 2:1-11), and was one of the Seventy Apostles sent out by Christ (Luke 10:1).

He is the author of the earliest Gospel to be written (it was written in Greek around AD 70). His symbol is Lion representing the Lion of Judah aspect which is portrayed in the gospel

The Alexandrian church claims Mark as its founder—the liturgy of that church is called the Liturgy of St. Mark. His symbol as an evangelist is a lion. It is reported that Mark was the secretary of Apostle Peter and hence the Gospel is probably written from the point of view of Peter. Papias (around 100 AD) says Mark wrote down the stories Peter told, but not necessarily in chronological order.

A further report of Mark as the amanuensis of Peter and an earlier Secret Gospel of Mark is given in a letter of Clement of Alexandria (died ca 211 - 216), transcribed into a printed book in the monastery of Mar Saba, south of Jerusalem. In it Clement states:

""As for Mark, then, during Peter's stay in Rome he wrote an account of the Lord's doings, not, however, declaring all of them, nor yet hinting at the secret ones, but selecting what he thought most useful for increasing the faith of those who were being instructed. But when Peter died a martyr, Mark came over to Alexandria, bringing both his own notes and those of Peter, from which he transferred to his former book the things suitable to whatever makes for progress toward knowledge. Thus he composed a more spiritual Gospel for the use of those who were being perfected. Nevertheless, he yet did not divulge the things not to be uttered, nor did he write down the hierophantic teaching of the Lord, but to the stories already written he added yet others and, moreover, brought in certain sayings of which he knew the interpretation would, as a mystagogue, lead the hearers into the innermost sanctuary of that truth hidden by seven veils. Thus, in sum, he prepared matters, neither grudgingly nor incautiously, in my opinion, and, dying, he left his composition to the church in Alexandria, where it even yet is most carefully guarded, being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries."

An extensive and satisfyingly circumstantial account of Mark's life was written by Severus, Bishop of Al-Ushmunain, in the 10th century. It might have been a legendary account as handed down to that period. According to this account, Mark was the nephew of Barnabas, who was cousin to Peter's wife. Mark was one of the servants at the wedding feast at Canaa who poured out the water that Jesus Christ turned to wine. This was Jesus' first public miracle. Mark was one of the Seventy Apostles sent out by Christ; he was the servant who carried water to the house of Simon the Cyrenian, where the Last Supper took place; and Mark was the one who hosted the disciples in his house after the death of Jesus, and into whose house the resurrected Jesus Christ came, although all the doors were shut.

He evangelized Libya, Ammonicia & Pentapolis, and then settled in Alexandria. Mark was the first to preach the Gospel in Alexandria and he established the Church there in 48 AD. He became the first bishop of Alexandria. However Alexandria turned out to be first School to encourage studies in science, philosophy, music, math and language

In 68 A.D. he was martyred and they tried to burn his body. Afterwards, the Christians in Alexandria removed his unburned body from the ashes, wrapped it and then buried it in the easterly part of the church they had built. His remains were later stolen and taken to Venice. They were not returned to Egypt until 1968.

John Mark being the nephew of Apostle Barnabas joined the journey along with Paul and Barnabas. He left the mission when faced with the difficulties of the journey. Later he joined Barnabas in is further journeys. When Paul and Barnabas, who had been in Antioch, came to Jerusalem, they brought Mark back to Antioch with them (Act 12:5),

He was martyred in 68 AD when pagans of Serapis (the Serapion-Abbis Greek Egyptian god) tied him to a horse's tail and dragged him through the streets of Alexandria's district of Bokalia for two days until his body was torn to pieces. His head is in a church named after him in Alexandria, and parts of his relics are in St. Mark's Cairo's Cathedral. The rest of his relics are in the San Marco Cathedral in Venice, Italy.

Cyprus: Salamis: Acts 13:4-5


Act 13:6 -12 and when they had gone through the whole island unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-Jesus; who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of understanding. The same called unto him Barnabas and Saul, and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn aside the proconsul from the faith. But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fastened his eyes on him, and said, O full of all guile and all villainy, thou son of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

Bar Jesus
the Elymas – the sorcerer

Elymas means "Wise" in Arabic, while Bar-Yeshua (Bariesous) literally means "son of Jesus" in Aramaic. Bar-Jesus was the magician's Jewish name. Elymas is said to be the interpretation of his name (Acts 13:8). It is the Greek transliteration of an Aramaic or Arabic word equivalent to Greek magos. From Arabic `alama, "to know" is derived `alim, "a wise" or "learned man." In Koran, Sura106, Moses is called Sachir `alim, "wise magician." Elymas therefore means "sorcerer" Simon "Magus" was a magician. Manichaean was a magician. They were all Gnostics. It is not to be considered as a derogatory term. In Sanskrit we have the term Gnaani – "One who knows"

Babylonia was the home of magic, for charms are found on the oldest tablets. "Magos" was originally applied to the priests of the Persians. In the olden days priests were also scientists and physicians. Magis were the scientists of their day, the heirs of the science of Babylon and the lore of Persia. They were Doctors of Philosophy of the period – a mixture of Science, Philosophy and Religion. So we see why Bar-Jesus was the counselor to Sergius Paulus.

He must have been a Jewish Essene Kabbalists with emphasis on Ritual Power. Jewish mysticism has historically been tinged by large doses of magic, superstition, and demonology. It was common practice for the Roman officials to retain the powerful personals in Jewish cults to be their counsels and advisers. They were well known for their intelligence and cunningness, There is a tradition in Cyprus, that Paul was taken to the entrance of the local synagogue and tied to a special pillar, where he received 39 lashes as atonement for the ‘intentional sin’ of preaching about the Lord Jesus Christ probably under the instruction of Elymas.. This pillar at St Paul’s church in Paphos, once the site of an ancient synagogue, is still visited by countless pilgrims from around the globe to this day. This might have interested the Pro-Counsel to call for Paul to hear his message. This is probably where the confrontation with Elymas took place which resulted in the miracle of blinding of Elymas and the conversion of Sergius Paulus.

Like all religious Spiritualist who gives extreme importance and power to symbols and words, the Jewish mystics – known as Kaballists – have tended to magic and witchcraft. Apocryphal writings to give ample testimony to the presence of magic and witchcraft as part of the Jewish tradition. Elymas might have been one such powerful mystic who could perform miracles. Paul became a rival to Elymas. Hence the conflict.

We see powerful magic as done by the magicians of Pharaoh. The Pharaoh had his magician cast down his staff and it became a snake. Moses does the same with his staff and it too becomes a snake, which immediately devours the Pharaohs snake...implying that God's magic is stronger than Pharaohs. It shows that magic is real in the universe which is brought about by some form of Physical and Spiritual laws. These included often the power of spoken words. It was always believed that the correct pronunciation of YHVH was sufficient to produce miracle. It was actually said that Jesus did his miracles because of he knew the name of God.

Blinding of Elymas the magician (13:6-11)
Giorgio Giulio Clovio. Elymas the Prophet, Struck with Blindness by St. Paul. 15th century


Cyprus: Paphos

Acts 13:6-12

Sergius Paulus

In 45 A.D. Paul the Apostle, travelling with St. Barnabas to Cyprus, succeeded in converting the Roman proconsul in Pafos to the Christian faith - making Cyprus the first country ever to be governed by a Christian leader.

Sergius Paulus, Paul's first convert on Cyprus had land holdings in the area (Acts 13:7). In 1877 this inscription was uncovered a short distance north of Paphos bearing Sergius Paulus’s name and title of proconsul.

 

Saul Paul

 

Acts 13:9
Luke tells us here for the first time
that Saul is also called Paul.
This name is used from now on.

 

Lazarus

Later, according to the biblical account, St. Lazarus was resurrected from the dead by Christ and sailed from Bethany to Cyprus where he lived for another 30 years (apparently not cracking a smile once in three decades!).


His sarcophagus is in the crypt of St. Lazarus Church in Larnaka.

Thirty-year-old Lazarus, who persecuted by the Jews, boarded a ship and left his homeland and after a two-day trip, the ship reached Cyprus. It was at that place in 45 AD, that Apostles Paul and Barnabas met with Lazarus and ordained him First Bishop of the ancient city of Kitio that is Larnaca today.

Lazarus lived for another thirty years since his resurrection by Jesus. All these years he had been gloomy and sullen. For in the underworld, where he had remained for four days, he had seen admirable things that were unspoken of.

The only time he had faintly smiled and that was with bitterness was at the city’s flea market, where he once saw someone steal a clay pot. "Look over there", he said to his friends who were with him, "one clay is stealing another!"

Outside Kitio, there was a great, big-leafed vineyard. Just before harvest, when big, juicy, ripe bunches of grapes hang from the vines, the saint happened to walk nearby. He had been walking for hours and was extremely thirsty. There, a woman who was the owner of the vineyard was working
"Please, woman", he said with much kindness, "may I have some grapes? I am dying of thirst."

However, the cruel and heartless woman scolded him:

"Go to your work, old man. This place produces only salt, not grapes."

"I bless this place, always to have salt to produce."

At once, the vineyard became a vast, salt marsh. It is the very salt marsh that is located today just outside the city of Larnaca. The workers in our days, who collect the salt, say that even today when they dig up, they can still find roots and stems of that vine.

When the saint died, the people of Kitio, who loved him very much, for he had helped them through hard times, buried him in a carved coffin bearing the inscription:

"Lazarus the man of four days and friend of Jesus."

The stone coffin was placed in a chapel.

Lazarus-church in Larnaka

After many years, in 890 AD, the sacred bones of the saint were transferred to Constantinople at the command of Leo VI the Wise. In return, the Emperor sent money and skilful builders to Cyprus to build a magnificent church in Larnaca that bears the saint’s name.

Ancient walls of Pafos

Holy See of Paphos

The Apostles Paul and Barnabas founded the Church of Paphos in 46 A.D.

It was the first Christian church that was founded by the Apostles. Later Saint Heraclidius and Bishop Epafras organized it, with the help of the Apostle Barnabas. Paphos, at that time, was the capital of Cyprus, It participated in the First Ecumenical Council, held in Nice in 325 A.D., with Bishop Cyril or Cyriacos. Bishop of Paphos Loulios participated in the Second Ecumenical Council that took place in Constantinople in 381AD. Bishop of Paphos Saprikios participated in the Third Ecumenical Council that took place in Ephesus in 431 and confirmed the Autocephalous of the Church of Cyprus. Since 330 A.D. Cyprus was a district of Byzantium, and Christianity was the official religion of the island

Perge

Still standing temple corner in Perge.

Roman Theatre in Perge

Perga

Acts 13:13

There John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. Because of this, Paul considered him unreliable and would later refuse to work with him (Acts 15:38).

Paul and Barnabas arrived here along with Barnabas’ nephew John Mark who abandoned the team from there. This proved to be a point of contention that eventually divided Paul and Barnabas.

Roman road to Antioch-Pisidia

The rough, mountainous passage caused Antioch to be isolated since it was the only way in and out of the city. (Were these mountains daunting to John Mark, and the reason he chose not to continue?)

Travelling northward from Perga to Pisidian Antioch, Saul and Barnabas followed the Roman road known as the Via Sebaste. With the mountains looming in the distance, the 100-mile journey took them about a week (travelling about 15 miles a day) and was extremely dangerous

 

Antioch in Pisidia

Acts 13:13-52

On the west side of the city are the foundations of the synagogue where Saul gave his first recorded sermon. In the 4th century AD the Church of St. Paul was built on the remains, incorporating its southern wall. Although most of the walls have disappeared, the superb mosaics and inscriptions which entirely cover the floor are worth seeing. At the centre of the mosaic are four Greek inscriptions giving the names of people who made the mosaic floor and the names of priests and dedicators. One of those mentioned is Optimus, a leader and bishop in the Antioch church between 375-381 AD. It is significant that this is the only church in ancient Anatolia built on the site of a synagogue.

Pisidian Antioch: View of the remains of the temple and altar where the emperor was worshiped - always problematic to Christians.

View of the remains of the aqueduct that brought water to the city.

The foundations of the triple city gate built as a monument commemorating the victory of the Roman emperor Septimus Severus over the Parthians

The theatre was situated on a hill not far from the city centre overlooking the city. It could accommodate 5,000 spectators and probably consisted of 26 rows of seats. The city's main east-west street ran through a tunnel beneath the south side of the seating area, an unusual feature that has not been observed elsewhere.

Matthew 10:14

Act 13:50 But the Jews urged on the devout women of honourable estate, and the chief men of the city, and stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and cast them out of their borders.

Act 13:51 but they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.

 

 

 

Iconium

Acts 14:1-7 

People attempted to stone them.

Coin from Lystra

An inscription on a stone at the site of Lystra (again, note the word "Lustra," in the fourth line) was a key to determining the location of the city.

Lystra is mentioned seven times in the NT. It was a Gentile and largely Latin speaking colony, using a dialect that was beyond the comprehension of Paul and Barnabas. The Book of Acts reports that Paul and Barnabas "fled to Lyaconia," to the cities of Derbe and Lystra, Iconium, Sadettin, and Kervansaray.

Christ healed ALL who came to Him by THEIR "Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter and John healed the cripple man in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Apostle Paul healed all who came to him by THEIR "Faith"

Acts 14:9-10

Act 14:11 and when the multitude saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voice, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.

Act 14:12 and they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercury, because he was the chief speaker.

Lystra

Acts 14:8-23

At Lystra, Paul healed a man with crippled feet. People thought Paul and Barnabas were the gods Zeus and Hermes. They brought oxen and garlands to offer a sacrifice, but Paul prevented it. Later, people turned against Paul. They stoned him and dragged him out of the city.

Hermes was the messenger of the gods. Since Paul did the talking, the people identified Paul with Hermes and Barnabas with the more distant figure of Zeus.

Zeus was the highest of the gods in the Greek pantheon. 
Zeus is the God of the skies – the thunder God.

 

Act 14:19-20 but there came Jews thither from Antioch and Iconium: and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul, and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and entered into the city: and on the morrow he went forth with Barnabas to Derbe.

The Stoning of St Paul and St Barnabas at Lystra

Signed and dated: Barent Fabritius 1672

Derbe

Acts 14:20-21 

Act 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had made many disciples.

Attalia

Acts 14:25-26

Attalia was the chief port of the region of Pamphylia.