The church in Antioch became a center or home base for the Gentile Christians as Jerusalem had been for the Jewish believers. The original apostles continued to remain in and around Jerusalem.
As the church at Antioch was fasting, the Holy Spirit said to them, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
After fasting, praying and laying hands on Barnabas and Saul, the church sent them on their way. John Mark also went along as their assistant.
The apostles (Apostle means one sent.) went about fifteen miles southwest of Antioch to Seleucia and boarded a ship and sailed to the island of Cyprus. After spending some time in the city of Salamis preaching in the synagogues of the Jews, they moved on to Paphos on the west end of the island.
Sergius Paulus, the proconsul (governor) of the area called for Barnabas and Saul wanting to hear the word of God. A sorcerer named Bar-Jesus or Elymas attempted to turn the governor away from hearing them.
While in Paphos, Saul, who had been known by his Jewish name, began to use his Latin name, Paul. Saul had been in a lesser position until that time. Paul became the dominant member of the missionary team and became their chief spokesman and teacher.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul said to Elymas, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” Immediately, a dark mist fell on him and he was blind.
When the governor saw what had happened to the sorcerer, he was astonished at what he had seen and heard. He believed the teaching of Paul and became a Christian.