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COMMENTARY

COMMENTARY
English
Gospel according to Matthew
Gospel according to Mark
Gospel according to Luke
Gospel according to John
Acts of the Apostles
Epistle to the Romans

German
Die Offenbarung des Johannes

Arabic
إنجيل المسيح حسب متى
إنجيل المسيح حسب مرقس
إنجيل المسيح حسب لوقا
إنجيل المسيح حسب يوحنا
أعمال الرسل
رسالة إِلى أهل رومية
رسالة إِلى أهل غلاطية
رسالة إِلى أهل فيلبي
رسالة إلى أهل كولوسي
رسالة إلى العبرانيين
رسالة يعقوب
رؤيا يوحنا

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2. Preaching in Cyprus (Acts 13:4-12)
4   So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
5   And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
6   And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus:
7   Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.
8   But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
9   Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
10   And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
11   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 a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
12   Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

The Holy Spirit sent out the two apostles. He guided and helped them because they glorified the name of the Lord Jesus. He first guided the two men to Seleucia, a seaport town about 25 kilometers from Antioch. There the two apostles knelt down and prayed together with their brothers who had come to see them off. They then boarded the ship and sailed to Cyprus, the homeland of Barnabas. He knew the island well, and thought their ministry would prosper there, preaching to his countrymen.
When they arrived in Salamis, a city on the east coast of Cyprus, they did not stop at its marketplace and speak to the Gentiles. Instead, they immediately went into the synagogue of the Jews and presented to them the word of God. The members of the Old Testament were numerous on this island, which is located in the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. Yet we do not read of any Jewish people in Cyprus believing in Jesus Christ or rejecting him angrily. It seems that none of the inhabitants there paid any attention to them. They were used to many other travelers coming to this island with strange thoughts.
Thus they continued on their way, accompanied by John Mark, Barnabas’ nephew. He had not been called by the Holy Spirit to this service, but joined them as their attendant and traveling companion. They passed through the entire island, which is about160 kilometers in length, preaching the kingdom of God and calling people to repentance. We do not read that anyone answered their call, believed, or was baptized. No church was founded there. Thus the service of those who were chosen by the Holy Spirit appeared not to be prosperous at first consideration.
At last they arrived in Paphos, the capital of Cyprus in Paul’s day and the residence of the Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus. He was the absolute governor of that island, unanswerable to the high council of the state. This governor was intelligent, prudent, and wise to the times. When he heard about the new doctrine on his island, he sent for the preachers to inquire from them about their doctrine.
Strangely enough, a Jewish sorcerer named Elymas lived in his palace. This Elymas pretended to have the gift of prophecy, and had employed it in the service of Satan. Thus he became a false prophet, taking it upon himself to tell the governor some facts about men and the future. In reality he was deceiving him through lies, so as to get money from him. This false prophet prevailed over the governor and the island through his evil spirit.
He warned the governor about Barnabas and Saul, who were bringing a new spirit to the island. Yet when the governor heard these two men he was pleased with their gospel. Thus he who was possessed by the spirit of hell made it his business to withstand Barnabas and Saul, with all craftiness. He used all his power of persuasion to stop the kingdom of God from coming into his region. He desired, at all cost, to prevent his patron from giving any adherence to the new faith, else the whole island become Christian. This is, in most cases, the reason for failure in preaching. In some countries an unclean spirit sits, dominantly opposing the entrance of the spirit of the gospel. The Spirit in heaven is not in agreement with the spirit on earth. All combinations of religions are ultimately superficial lies.
Barnabas and Saul soon realized that the spirit in Bar-Jesus, the magician’s Jewish name, was the opposite of Jesus Christ, who was anointed with the Holy Spirit. This magician was full of the spirit of Satan, perverting the truth of the Old Testament. He deviously employed his religious knowledge to further support his lies. His boasts were filled with deceptive wisdom, which was clear deviation and defiance of that which is right and truth.
It happened that the governor had the same name as the apostle, while the sorcerer had the same name as Jesus. Therefore, the apostles thought this might be a preparation for the coming of the kingdom of God to the island, and possibly to the whole Roman Empire through the proconsul. But their dreams soon evaporated, and a clash ensued between the deception of Satan and the truth of Christ. Saul, called Paul, publicly exposed and removed the veil of lies from the face of the false prophet and sorcerer. Paul did not preach repentance to the sorcerer, nor did he offer him forgiveness. Instead, he condemned him in the name of Christ and overcame his evil spirit through faith in the working hand of the Lord. Led by the Holy Spirit, Paul stabbed the false prophet through his innermost being. He did not bring the deceiver to bodily death, but Christ Jesus had empowered him to work a miracle. He inflicted the sorcerer with blindness that he might have a chance to repent, just as he, too, struck with blindness on the road to Damascus, had had a chance to reflect on his sin. With Paul, however, it came to the realization of who the true Lord is, to belief on him, and to salvation.
Jesus showed himself in Cyprus to be the Lord over all spirits and the Victor over devils, through the testimony of Paul, His servant. Those who were present felt the triumph of the great God. Afterwards Paul is mentioned first in the records of the Acts of the Apostles, for the last and “little one” had become first. He, who was zealous for the glory of Christ received power to magnify the name of the Savior. This glorification was the complete aim of the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, the governor believed in the living Christ only because of the miracle, and not wholeheartedly. He dared not ask for baptism. Though his name was “Paulus”, he did not become a preacher of Christ, as the true Paul had done. In spite of his faith he remained neutral. Through his lukewarmness he became a reason for the delay in timely spreading the kingdom of God. He did not, however, object to preaching on the island, having himself called on the name of Jesus, whose name he feared. We read nothing further regarding Sergius Paulus in the history of the church.
Paul and Barnabas experienced anew that the Lord’s doctrine was not an empty thought, but power from on high. The Lord Himself was accompanying these men in His triumphal procession. In this first leg of the journey, however, there appeared no great number of repentant believers, in Cyprus, the homeland of the faithful Barnabas.

 

Prayer:   O Lord Jesus, You are the Victor over every devil. We ask You to annihilate every power against Your gospel in our surroundings. Bless through the message of your servants, that no one can stand in the way of Your triumphal procession. We ask for the work of Your hand to accompany our testimony, and Your protection over all Your servants.

 

Question:

64. Why was Paul angry? How did the hand of the Lord work to verify Paul´s words?

 

 

Table of contents

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

PART 1
THE PRELIMINARY PERIOD IN THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST
(MATTHEW 1:1 - 4:25)

PART 2
CHRIST TEACHES AND MINISTERS IN GALILEE
(MATTHEW 5:1 - 11:1)

PART 3
THE UNBELIEVING JEWS AND THEIR ENMITY TO JESUS
(MATTHEW 11:2-18:35)

PART 4
JESUS’ MINISTRY IN THE JORDAN VALLEY DURING HIS JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM
(MATTHEW 19:1 - 20:34)

PART 5
JESUS’ LAST MINISTRIES IN JERUSALEM
(MATTHEW 21:1 - 25:46)

PART 6
CHRIST’S SUFFEINGS AND DEATH
(MATTHEW 26:1-27:66)

PART 7
THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
(MATTHEW 28:1-20)

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