"They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith." NIV translation
Paphos was the capital city of Cyprus at this time and so that is where the proconsul (governor of a Roman province) lived. This city was a famous important city for worshiping the Greek goddess of love and beauty (Aphrodite) and in fact the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite was near the city. The proconsul (governor) called for Barnabas and Saul so that he could hear about God but a sorcerer/false prophet, who was also an attendant to the governor, tried to stop it. One of the cool lessons in this passage is that, if you are faithful in God's work, people will notice and know who to call when they want to know more about Jesus. You see, Barnabas and Saul had traveled all over the island and were known for their work so, when the governor wanted to know more, he knew who to call. That is how each of us are called to walk, so that everyone can see Jesus Christ. But, just like Barnabas and Saul in this passage, there will be those who oppose us and the sharing of God's word.
"Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 'You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.' Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord." NIV translation
Isn't it amazing how God can even use a "child of the devil"? You see, Elymas was determined to keep the proconsul from learning about Jesus but instead he was used to demonstrate the power of God. Because of that demonstration of power, the proconsul (governor) believed and was saved. This passage can be a great comfort and inspiration for us today, as Christians who face opposition and persecution. It can remind us that God is in total control and he takes care of his own. It can also be encouragement to get involved in the ministry of the gospel as we see that God can and will use anyone for his purposes (even an unwitting sorcerer like Elymas).
"From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem." NIV translation
So, Barnabas, John Mark, and Paul left Cyprus and sailed to what is now the country of Turkey. Then, John left them to go back to Jerusalem. At first glance, this verse may seem rather unimportant but, as we will see later in the Book of Acts, it was a major event. You would think that, after such a wonderful experience in Paphos, things would really be going well but here we see the beginning of a major dispute.