Text: Mark 1
"The Holy Spirit said, 'Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Acts 13:2
THE CHURCH AT ANTIOCH
The Church at Antioch grew most impressively under the leadership of Barnabas and Saul. Luke recorded this important observation.
“Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul.
And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.
So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church
and taught a great many people.
And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”
SENSITIVE TO THE LEADING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Antiochan church had great leaders. The following text mentioned some of these leaders.
“Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain
prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger,
Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod
the tetrarch, and Saul”
The first on the list of leaders was none other than Barnabas. His being listed first bears good testimony of his hard work in Antioch. Saul was also mentioned among the leaders, although at this point of time, he was listed last.
These leaders were sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. As they ministered for the Lord, they were given a special word from the Holy Spirit. Barnabas and Saul were to be set aside for a special task. They were going to be sent out as the first pair of missionaries of the church at Antioch.
MARK AS AN ASSISTANT MINISTER
The Church at Antioch had grown well. It developed a healthy sense of concern for the work of Missions. After carefully seeking the will of God, they sought to comply immediately.
“Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them,
they sent them away.
So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia,
And from there they sailed to Cyprus. And when they arrived
in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues
of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.”
John Mark’s public ministry began as an assistant to Barnabas and Saul. Their task was that of evangelism. They would go to foreign lands where the Gospel had not yet been preached. They were the first pioneers in the missionary enterprise of the Church. To be numbered among the first team of missionaries is no small honour.