7 June. Acts 15:22-35

7 June. Judas Barsabbas and Silas visit the believers in Antioch 

"The apostles, the elders and the whole church [in Jerusalem] decided to send some of their men with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch [in Syria]. They chose Judas Barsabbas [a Hebrew name meaning 'Son of an old man'] and Silas [or 'Silvanus' - a Latin or Roman name meaning 'of the forest'], who were respected by the believers."

"They sent the following letter with them:
'From the apostles and elders, your [Jewish] brothers.
To all the non-Jewish believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
Greetings! We have heard that some [Jews] of our group have come to you and said things that trouble and upset you. But we did not tell them to do this.'"

"'We have all agreed to choose some messengers and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul - people who have given their lives to serve our Lord Jesus Christ...
It has pleased the Holy Spirit that you should not have a heavy load to carry, and we agree.'"

"'You need to do only these things: stay away from any food that has been offered to idols, any animals that have been strangled, blood and any kind of sexual sin. If you stay away from these things, you will do well. Goodbye.'"

"So they left Jerusalem and went to Antioch where they gathered the church and gave them the letter. When they read it, they were very happy because of the encouraging message. Judas and Silas, who were also prophets, said many things to encourage the believers and make them stronger."

"After some time, Judas and Silas were sent off in peace by the believers, and they went back [to Jerusalem] to those who had sent them."

"But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch and, along with many others, preached the Good News and taught the people the message of the Lord."

          (Acts 15:22-35)



Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch in 50AD with Judas Barsabbas (who may have been the brother of Joseph Barsabbas – see Acts 1:23) and Silas. The Jewish believers in Jerusalem expressed their desire to embrace the non-Jewish believers in Antioch as brothers in God's family. This was a remarkable development when, for centuries, Jews had despised Gentiles and regarded only circumcised Jews as their fellow brothers to whom they were committed to support and care for.

Significantly, judging by their names, they appear to have sent both a Jewish believer (Judas Barsabbas) and a Gentile (or Greek-speaking) believer (Silas or 'Silvanus') to carry their letter and to bring the good news to the non-Jewish believers in Antioch, Cilicia and Syria. These are the areas around Tarsus, Damascus and Antioch where Paul had ministered to both Jews and Gentiles for eleven years (35-46 AD) before setting out on his 'first missionary journey' to Cyprus, Pamphylia and Pisidia (see Acts 9:19-22, 9:30, 11:25-26 & Galatians 1:17-21).

They took a letter to the non-Jewish believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia summarising the leaders’ decisions on the Jewish food laws and on morality. After delivering the letter and encouraging the believers, Judas and Silas returned to Jerusalem, while Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch.

Paul probably wrote his 'Letter to the Galatians' while in Antioch in 50AD. In it, he reported on his meeting with the church leaders at the Council of Jerusalem (see Galatians 2:1-10) and discussed the relevance of the Jewish law with the Gentiles who had become believers when he visited the cities of Galatia during his 'first missionary journey' in 47 and 48AD.

In his letter to the believers in Galatia, he taught them – in line with the ruling of the Council of Jerusalem – that non-Jewish believers do not need to follow the minutiae of the Jewish law and are not under any obligation to be circumcised (see Galatians 2:3 & 3:1-5).

The sigh of relief may well have been audible, and we're told by Luke that they were amazed at being accepted as brothers in Christ, and "were very happy because of the encouraging message."

The photo shows the village street at Sille near Konya (Iconium) in Galatia.

You can read more @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/paul-barnabas-take-the-l…/.

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