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Paul in Cyprus

Paul and Barnabas go on their first missionary trip.
Contributed by YO! Ministry
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Hindi, Arabic
Saul, an aggressive persecutor of Christians, was encouraged by the Temple priests in Jerusalem to go to Damascus and persecute more Christians.(Acts 9:1-2). – Slide 1
Suddenly, God stopped Saul during his trip and said: ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ Saul was shocked and struck blind. He had to be led as a blind man to Damascus. (Acts 9:3-7). – Slide 2
God told Ananias to go and lay hands on Saul and with God’s power restore Saul’s sight. At first Christians wanted to stay away from Saul. It took time for other Christians to accept Saul as a friend. (Acts 9:10-19). – Slide 3
After all, many of them remembered how terrible Saul used to be. He had been responsible for the stoning of Stephen and the persecution of many Christians. (Acts 7:54-8:3). – Slide 4
But Saul continued to speak boldly of the Lord Jesus to everyone. Saul was so bold, that the disciples had to move him away from Jerusalem for fear that some Jews would kill him. (Acts 9:26-29). – Slide 5
Far to the north of Jerusalem was the gentile city of Antioch. In Antioch many Jews and gentiles who loved Jesus met and started a church. Paul probably traveled by boat from Jerusalem to Antioch to visit this church. – Slide 6
The people of Antioch soon heard of Jesus. They thought of the people who loved Jesus as ‘little Christs’. So this is one of the first places followers of Jesus were called Christians. Strong Christian leaders came out of this church. – Slide 7
The Church fasted and prayed for God’s direction. The Holy Spirit said ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul to do the work I have called them.’ So they laid their hands on them, then sent them to take the good news of Jesus to other lands. – Slide 8
Saul, Barnabas and John (who was also called Mark) set off for the nearby port of Seleucia. (Saul became known as Paul, and so from now on, we will call Saul, Paul). – Slide 9
There they boarded a ship sailing to the large Island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. – Slide 10
When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. – Slide 11
Then they travelled on through the whole island as far as Paphos, telling people about Jesus. – Slide 12
When they arrived at Paphos, they were welcomed by the Roman ruler. He was an intelligent man called Sergius Paulus. Sergius Paulus wanted to hear the good news that Paul and Barnabas were sharing. – Slide 13
Unfortunately they also met a magician and Jewish false prophet called Bar-Jesus (Elymas in Greek). Now, it would not be easy for Paul to share the good news about Jesus Christ. – Slide 14
As Paul and Barnabas talked about Jesus Christ the evil Bar-Jesus tried to stop them. He rudely tried to disrupt Paul and Barnabas’s conversation because he did not want his ruler Sergius Paulus to hear the Word of God and have faith in Jesus. – Slide 15
But Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, and said, ‘You are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness. The hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time.’ – Slide 16
And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon Bar-Jesus, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand. Then the Roman ruler believed when he saw what had happened. Sergius Paulus became a Christian. – Slide 17
Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos to Perga. However, John left them and returned to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas traveled on to Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and taught. – Slide 18
Paul and Barnabas shared the good news of Jesus in the Jewish synagogue. The people begged them to come back on the next Sabbath and tell them more. – Slide 19
The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled. When the Jews saw the crowds coming to hear Paul and Barnabas, they were jealous, so they began contradicting them and accusing them of blasphemy. – Slide 20
Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, ‘It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to the Jews first. But as you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we are turning to the gentiles as the Lord has commanded us.’ A gentile is anyone not born as a Jew, so the whole world was going to hear the good news that Jesus had died to save them. – Slide 21
A free video of this story, that you can pause to encourage discussion, is available at http://www.yoplace.org/video.php – Slide 22