Saturday, June 23, 2012

Acts, Chapter 13: Cypriot vacation

A bunch of dudes are all living together in the church at Antioch, preaching and fasting. One day, the holy ghost reserves Barnabas and Saul for some special tasks he wants done. So after more fasting and praying, they head off to Cyprus with John as their assistant.

As they proselytise their way around Cyprus, the eventually come to a place called Paphos, where they find a sorcerer called Barjesus, who is an assistant to the local Roman official, Sergius Paulus. Sergi wants to hear all about god, but the sorcerer, who is now suddenly called Elymas, interferes. Saul (or possibly Paul, are we all good and confused now?) looks at the sorcerer, calls him a son of the devil, and blinds him. Didn't this just happen with another sorcerer? Or did I stumble into an episode of Passions? Anyway, it's enough to convince Sergi.

S/Paul and Barnabas move on to Perga, but John goes back to Jerusalem. But then they get bored in Cyprus and head back to Antioch, where they settle into the synagogue again. On the sabbath, the chief priests send them a message asking them if they want to address the people. So S/Paul stands up and recites the history of the Jews from the time of Moses, because that never gets boring with repetition, and the story of Jesus, making sure to link him to David and the psalms. He warns us that when David died, god found corruption in him, but that Jesus was perfect and uncorrupted. He also assures them that belief in Jesus allows them to be square with god, unlike the laws of Moses, and urges them to repent.

When the Jews leave, a bunch of gentiles clamour outside the synagogue for S/Paul and Barnabas to come and preach at their church next weekend. Nearly the entire city shows up to hear the preaching, which makes the Jews green with envy. S/Paul and Barnabas coolly tell them they had their chance and didn't listen, so now they're spreading the word to the gentiles as well. So the Jews banish them and they go to Iconium.

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