Updated: Jun 19, 2020
The Death of Herod
20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.
24 But the word of God increased and multiplied.
25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.
Barnabas and Saul Sent Off
13 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. 6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
Is there a verse or passage that stands out to you? Why?
Take a moment to pray about those verses.
It’s easy to read the Bible and be in awe of what God was able to do back then, but do we realize that God still wants to work today?
In a sermon through the book of Acts, John Piper says, “Can you feel why I read the book of Acts and become disenchanted with "fellowship-as-usual"? We are beyond all controversy here over whether signs and wonders are done only by apostles. We are talking here about ordinary Christians who meet together with such expectancy and fervency of prayer, and vision—or desperation—that the Spirit is poured out, and people are added to the church daily, and witness is bold, and missionaries are called and sent, and prison doors are opened. This is not apostolic vindication. This is just Christian fellowship—explosive Christian fellowship—the way it was happening in a context where leaders were being executed. My prayer is that we will not be so at home in the world—so content with business as usual—that God must bring persecution upon us in order to create in Bethlehem explosive fellowship.”
Personal Application What would it look like for you to live in “explosive Christian fellowship?” Is there a habit that you can cultivate during this season that would help you?
Reach Out Find someone to pray with today. Whether it’s someone in your household or a friend over the phone, take five minutes to pray together for your family, your church, and the world.