We first met the church in Antioch in chapter 11 and learn that it was here that believers were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26).
After a brief return to the Jerusalem church in chapter 12, the narrative comes back to Antioch in today's reading. Acts 13-15:35 focus on the mission of the Antioch church. From this point forward the good news of Jesus begins its ever expanding reach to the Gentile world.
How will God reach the people of the world?
By setting apart women and men to serve as evangelists and missionaries.
In verse 2 we read that as the church was worshiping and fasting, “the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
The church responds by fasting and praying for Barnabas and Saul, laying hands on them (commissioning them) and sending them off on their mission.
All believers are called to be in ministry as a part of their discipleship. God has uniquely created you and placed within you unique combinations of gifts, strengths, and talents.
No matter your age, no matter your station in life. Our first call is to follow Christ, and our second call is to something specific in the world.
For some, that specific call is to set apart ministry like Barnabas and Saul.
God is still calling women and men to live as apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers to equip the people of our church for ministry (see
How is God calling you?