Today marks a transition in Acts. Instead of the message of Jesus spreading because of persecution, the message spreads because of a purposeful strategy. Saul is now being sent as a missionary along with Barnabas. Saul also begins to be known as Paul. This chapter starts a pattern which will be seen in the rest of the book of Acts. Paul’s preaching always begins with Jews in the synagogue, but when there is resistance, he takes the message of Jesus to Gentiles as well. This journey begins on the Island of Cyprus and then moves to Antioch, in what we call Turkey today.
Paul probably found it easier to talk to Jews than Gentiles. They were raised with similar traditions and believed the same Old Testament teachings. We see Paul relying heavily on the Old Testament when he preached to Jews. But he doesn’t stop with his fellow Jews; he moves to those he formerly hated. Jesus isn’t just for those we naturally like; he wants us to love everyone and take his message to all of them.