So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
As the believers in Antioch are worshiping and fasting, the Holy Spirit answers with a plan of action - Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.
The Antioch group demonstrates a burning desire to carry the Good News of Jesus to places beyond their borders. They are striving to obey the command of their Teacher to go and make other students in all nations. Heaven approves!
Even today, their zeal for missions provides an admirable example for every other congregation of believers.
For more than a year Paul has been living and working in the church at Antioch. During his time in this fellowship – which includes both Jews and Gentiles – Paul has gained a practical model for creating new congregations in the places he will travel.
Here begins the first of several of Paul’s mission trips chronicled in the Book of Acts. Missionary journeys that mark a real beginning of the advance of Christianity throughout the world!
Paul and Barnabas set sail for the island of Cyprus. There they begin by preaching in the synagogues. A strategy that makes perfect sense.
In the synagogues, they will find those already familiar with the Scriptures. Paul will be able to show how Jesus is the fulfillment of over 300 prophecies contained in the Old Testament. The Messiah they have been expecting!
Paul will be able to plant new churches by first recruiting students from among those who already know the Scriptures. These will form a solid core of believers to which can be added the less informed Gentile converts, just as it was done so effectively in Antioch.
Using the Antioch Model, Paul will establish scores of new congregations. These too will include both Jews and Gentiles. And also like the Antioch church, these new groups will be charitable and mission-minded as well.